By Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner
Broadway is getting closer to going dark with contract talks at an impasse between stagehands union Local 1 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and The League of American Theaters and Producers, which represents Jujamcyn and Shubert theater owners, who account for 22 of the 39 Broadway houses. Even a last ditch attempt by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to mediate talks has been rebuffed; in 2003, the mayor helped end a Broadway musicians strike.
Local 1 president, James Claffey, declined the mayor’s offer. “The mayor understands and respects our organization’s right to bargain,” he told UPI.
The stagehand’s union has called for a meeting on Sunday, Oct. 21, for a strike vote. Since July 31, stagehands have been working without a contract. Both sides rejected offers made on Oct. 9.
Several factors are at issue, including the number of stagehands required during certain periods at the beginning of a production. Producers are looking to cut costs by decreasing this number and the hours worked.
On Oct. 16, the League said that portions of their final contract offer was going to be implemented beginning on Monday, Oct. 22.
“We are forced to implement because Local One will not pursue meaningful change,” said Charlotte St. Martin, the League’s executive director, on its website. “They not only rejected our offer; they submitted a counter-offer which would make matters worse by requiring even more nonproductive hiring,” she continued. “During the life of the contract, under these provisions, costs for new musicals would rise by 30 percent and for plays would rise by 44 percent. This is indefensible in an industry with a financial failure rate of 80 percent in which only one in five productions recoups its costs.
“We have moved a long way to address the Union’s concerns. But we have not and will not yield on the basic principle: archaic work rules that jeopardize the industry’s health must be reformed. Our final offer would make sure that Broadway stagehands continue to be the most highly paid in the theater industry. But we need, at the same time, to protect and preserve the industry that provides for their own livelihood and the well-being of all the creative people who work on Broadway.”
As previously reported, stagehands earn anywhere from $1,225 to above $1,600 per week on average. With overtime and premium or additional work, many stagehands make more than $110,000 annually.
Last Updated on March 17, 2009 by Alfred Branch Jr.
A house head on a running Broadway Show makes more like
$200,000.00 a year after he recieves a 13% annuity,
and a 17% contribution to pension. Some $250,000.
Ask how many doctors would love to trade places.
Thank you Richard for sharing. Some people just cant see past the shadow cast in front of them, I hope your personal story can shed some light.
And a thank you to all the members and officers of Local 1 – you continue to do such great work.
See you on the picket line if need be.
If you’re retired why do you keep talking in the present tense?
I am an Active head on Broadway
This year After working Several additional Load-ins
Is about 125,000
I work 8 am till 5 or6p
than I go to my house and work till 10;30
So you should get a new calculator,and a Doctor.
to make 200.000 like Charlotte Suggests
7 days a week all year
Do you wonder what Charlotte makes?
I bet any stage hand on Broadway would gladly trade checks with her.
How many Hours Does She work??
You deserve ever Dime
Grosses were up 8.9 percent for the the year for a total af $939 milion, according to Playbill. The tally is based on data supplied by The League of American Theatres and Producers
How can the league Cry Poverty.
They are just trying to smash the Unions
Management top heavy
They blow smoke everywhere.
trying to hide the truth
I have waited years to come to New York to see the Macy’s parade. Figured that while we were there we would also see a play – why not… part of New York, right? So, our tickets to the show we purchased months ago look worthless (yes, we will get a refund).
My question: if the stagehands were really concerned with the situation and wanted true change why not strike during the summer when the previous contract expired?? Answer – maximum leverage – basically a fundamental desire to squeeze customers such as us and catch us in the middle.
So, looking to me for sympathy? Not likely. We will still come to New York… we will still have fun… we will spend our money elsewhere… and we will not be back to see a show. Have the unions learned nothing from other Unions… look at the baseball, football, or more recently hockey strikes (what ARE the hockey attendance numbers now???). Wake up guys…. in today’s world with multiple diversions… cosumers have choices and long memories….
A strike will strike at the customer…who also works hard to pay the 5-600 to take a family to a Broadway show. We have waited all year and will attend a show on the day before Thanksgiving. If no show we will get a refund and we won’t be back. Then both the theaters and stagehands will lose.
Settle, work together…let the show go on.
If you don’t, you may find that potential theater goers will find other things to do with the money THEY work hard to earn!!!!!
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I am a Local One Stagehand, retired. I have made a good living working on Broadway but the number 110K is deceiving. To earn that salary, my workday starts at 8AM and ends at 10:30PM seven days a week. I have to load in the shows during the day and work my own show in the evening. When I go back to my show in the evening I have to replace myself on the payroll. I work on average about 100 hours a week. So you see my salary is two $55,000.00 dollar jobs. Not a lot separately but together they afford me a middle class lifestyle in this very expensive city New York. And believe me I work for my pay. Shows are heavy to load in and the work is dangerous. I never got to see much of my family and the divorce rate in our industry is very high. Does this still sound like a cushy job?