By Alfred Branch, Jr. Although the official vote tally was not disclosed, Broadway stagehands Sunday overwhelmingly approved the new labor contract the group forged...

By Alfred Branch, Jr.

Although the official vote tally was not disclosed, Broadway stagehands Sunday overwhelmingly approved the new labor contract the group forged late last month with theater owners and producers.

The stagehand union had been on strike for 19 days prior to the agreement, shutting down 27 of 34 Broadway productions during the impasse. Both sides agreed to wage increases for the union in excess of 3.5 percent for the next five years, in addition to the minimum number of 17 stagehands being used at the beginning of setting up a musical, and 12 for a play.

During the strike, theater owners and producers lost an estimated $35 million, which New York City itself hemorrhaged about $2 million per day. During the strike, the producers of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” which had been scheduled for only a holiday run, won a court battle to open during the strike, the only show to do so. Another seven shows were open during the strike because those stagehands were covered under a different agreement.

“It was an overwhelming ratification. Everyone’s very happy,” Bruce Cohen, spokesperson for the stagehands union, told the New York Times.