Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Finally! Back To The Table

Finally! Back To The Table

Michael Riedel is reporting in this morning's New York Post that The League of American Theatres and Producers will finally get back to the bargaining table with Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E.) one week from tomorrow (November 7).

The two sides, which are scheduled to meet through November 9, have been at an impasse since October 9.

Since that time, of course, the stagehands union -- working without a contract since the end of July -- voted unanimously to authorize a strike. The following day, The League began imposing portions of its "final" offer on stagehands.

According to Adam Hetrick of Playbill, those include:
Setting the Running Crew
Stagehand crew size and job assignments were previously frozen on the opening night of a Broadway show. The League claims this does not allow enough time to "routine stagehand work and determine appropriate staffing levels." The crew size and job assignments will now be frozen six weeks after opening night. (The Union rejected this proposal.)

Electrician Duties
In some instances up to three electricians have operated the board that controls light, projection and sound cues -- a job that can be handled by one electrician. The new rule says that "three separate stagehands are not required" to operate such a board. (Local One tentatively agreed to codify this practice.)

Premium Pay for a 7th Day or 9th Performance
Stagehands who work a 7th day or a 9th performance (for example, a Monday performance for a show that regularly plays a Tuesday-Sunday schedule) are paid time-and-a-half. Previously, even those stagehands who had not worked all six days or eight performances were paid time-and-a-half for this extra performance. The League and the Union agreed to a proposed exchange whereby The League would not be required to pay time-and-a-half to those who had not worked the full week; however, The League agreed to pay time-and-a-half for all work "performed on any non-performance day where a production performs only five days per week (Wednesday through Saturday)."

Overtime Hiring Requirements
Previously, if only a few stagehands were required to work overtime, Broadway producers were required to pay overtime to all of the stagehands that had been called that day. Producers will now pay overtime only to the stagehands required to work past a given call period. (The Union rejected this proposal.)

Meal Periods
Meal periods, the previous contract stated, must take place on the hour at 12-1 pm or 1-2 pm, and for evenings at 5-6 pm or 6-7 pm. During many load-in and technical rehearsal days, management was left a choice between "stopping and restarting work for an entire department on the hour or paying everyone a penalty of a time-and-a-half hour." The League will now implement meal time flexibility as long as a break is given within 3 to 5 hours of a stagehand's start time. The new rule would also allow a 30-minute break if a meal is provided for the crew. (Local One has rejected this offer.)

Rehearsals and Work Calls

Currently stagehands called in for a four-hour minimum call can only perform work specific to that type of call. For example, a crew member called in for a rehearsal call cannot be required to do maintenance work -- fixing lights or maintaining scenery. Such work would require an additional work call. The League states that they will now require that stagehands perform any work necessary, within departmental lines, on a production while they are being paid, regardless of the type of call. (Local One has rejected this offer.)

Performance Calls
During the performance of a show, there are strict rules regarding what can be required of a crew member. The Union has agreed to allow "work on equipment and related items for promotion and publicity." The League also proposed that stagehands should be permitted to clean up the set, the show's equipment and repair any problems that occurred during the performance. Should the work require more time than the actual running time of the show, crew members would be paid in one-hour increments. Local One agreed to a two-hour minimum call solely to permit clean up for safety reasons.

Continuity Calls
In the previous Local One contract, stagehands may be called one hour prior to a performance (solely for work related to that performance), or for one hour after the performance, but never both, unless producers schedule an additional four-hour call. Producers now intend to schedule and pay for work up to three hours around any given performance, limited to two hours prior and one hour after. This does not include clean up, which may require two hours. The previous union contract also said that if a show ending at 10:25 pm necessitates additional work, the call-time rolls back to 10 pm, requiring producers to pay for an additional hour's work. And, if more time is needed, the call becomes a four-hour call. The League has eliminated this rule, which Local One rejected.

Canceled Performances
Currently, when a scheduled performance of a show is canceled and replaced by a rehearsal or a work call, stagehands are required to be paid for both the canceled performance and the rehearsal/work call. The League will now not pay stagehands twice for the same hours. (The Union has rejected this proposal.)

What's particularly significant about the return to the negotiating table will be the presence of IATSE's Tom Short, since Local One cannot strike without the parent union's authorization. A representative of IATSE must also be present during at least one stage of the negotiations in order for a strike to be formally sanctioned.

The earliest that most expect a strike to occur would be during the very busy and extremely lucrative Thanksgiving weekend. That's when Local One's leverage would be greatest. As I've said before, The League would be out of its mind to see its theatres go dark during such a traditionally profitable time.

Even though Local One's members authorized a strike, it has sought the upper hand in the PR war. Two days after The League began imposing portions of its offer, Local One President James Claffey, Jr. commended the stagehands for continuing to work in spite of the rules, which he said were "a tactic to frustrate, embarrass and provoke (the stagehands union) into taking action against (The League) in an effort to gain the public support." He also encouraged the stagehands to obey them to "convince our co-workers and the public that this Union did all we could for a reasonable period of time before we were pushed and shoved into defending our families and ourselves."

My last take on this was that the onus was on The League to get back to the table. Now that The League will be returning, I'm hoping that the two sides can bargain in good faith. I'll keep you posted as further developments progress.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Related Stories:
Now That The Union Has Spoken... (October 22, 2007)
It's Unanimous! (October 20, 2007)
D-Day Indeed (October 21, 2007)
$5 Million Per Day (October 19, 2007)
Nederlanders: On Their Own Again? (October 18, 2007)
The Broadway Theatres Not Impacted By Labor Dispute (October 17, 2007)
Bloomberg Appears Ready To Step Into Fray (October 16, 2007)
If You're Holding Tix For Broadway This Week, You're Safe (October 15, 2007)
Stagehands To Vote On Strike...October 21 (October 12, 2007)
The Shows Must Go On...At Least Over Weekend (October 12, 2007)
Still No Lockout (October 12, 2007)
No Lockout Tonight (October 11, 2007)
Lockout Likely (October 10, 2007)
Is This The One For One? (October 9, 2007)
Stagehands' Union Concedes Key Point (October 5, 2007)
Stagehands Talks To Continue This Afternoon (October 5, 2007)
No Monday Lockout (September 29, 2007)
Before The Holidays Strike? (September 25, 2007)
Thanks, Mel! (July 6, 2007)

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At 30 October, 2007, Anonymous Johnnyonthespot said...

Key Words
bargain in good faith.
The League has not shown any "Good Faith"

At 30 October, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Johnny, I'm hoping!

At 31 October, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do Remember That Playbill
is Owned and Run By the Producers.

Dont Trust Them For The Truth

At 31 October, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Anonymous, Were any of the statements attributed to them false?

At 31 October, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Basically Steve No
but you just cant trust them.
Lockout, Bulling Tactics
Health of the Industry

Just phrases that sound good "Soundbites"

I really dont know the Stage guys Contract,
But dealing with StMartain She seems like a Used Car Dealer
or should I say PREOWNED

At 31 October, 2007, Anonymous ONGO said...

Producers and Union Move Closer in Contract Talks
By Andrew Gans
06 Oct 2007

A concession by Local One, the stagehands union, may expedite the approval of a new three-year contract with the League of American Theatres and Producers.

The concession by the Union came after a long day of negotiations when, according to Bloomberg.com, the Union realized that producers were willing to allow a shutdown of Broadway rather than continue with the long-standing work rules.

At 01 November, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess the producers were a bit"Premature" with 06 Oct 2007

At 01 November, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanna be a Producer!

At 02 November, 2007, Anonymous Kathy LongIsland said...

Now Can Anyone explain These New Rules?
But I thought after weeks of rehursals,Weeks of previews
they would already know how many people are needed
Dont the Managers Determine this "Loadin Crew size"
All this 7 day/ Stuff
YES I Do Feel Like Im Buying a UsedCar

At 02 November, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Kathy, Wish I could, but yours truly is just an innocent audience member who buys the tickets to the shows.

At 02 November, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems like the producers
Want to Have My Cake and Eat it Too!
Cancelled Scedule Performances?
If I cancell my Hairdressers appointment at the last minute
"I pay"
Do they think these guys Are At there beck and call,like slaves
No advance notice?Best Effort?
What a Crock

At 03 November, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On his CBS show on Thursday, David Letterman described the producers as "cowards, cutthroats and weasels."
Ahh Truth in Humor

At 04 November, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert Simonson Playbill On-Line
Fri Nov 2, 7:05 PM ET

The cast of upcoming discussions will include Tom Short, the head of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local One's parent union, and, to some minds, the only guy who can make something finally happen. Short's the man who has to give the go-ahead before Local One can strike, and so far he hasn't done that.

Negotiations are also scheduled for Nov. 8 and 9. Union officials have indicated in the past that they won't work without an agreement past the end of the month. That gives both sides three weeks to figure something out. Hey, if nothing is settled by Nov. 22, maybe the producers and stagehands could all have Thanksgiving dinner together! I'll bring the cranberry sauce.

We're midway through fall now, and the show openings are coming daily.

At 04 November, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have the producers already COOKED THERE OWN GOOSE?

At 04 November, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:38pm EDT Email

Learn to Trade with a FREE Guide. Rank Show - Theater (Gross) 1 Wicked - Gershwin ($1,449,978 over 8 shows) 2 Jersey Boys - August Wilson ($1,284,622 over 8 shows) 3 The Lion King - Minskoff ($1,180,225 over 8 shows) 4 Mary Poppins - New Amsterdam ($982,217 over 8 shows) 5 Mamma Mia - C/WGarden ($954,385 over 8 shows) 6 The Color Purple - Broadway ($862,935 over 8 shows) 7 Legally Blonde - Palace ($830,605 over 8 shows) 8 Curtains - Al Hirschfeld ($819,101 over 8 shows) 9 Grease - Brooks Atkinson ($793,671 over 8 shows) 10 Hairspray - Neil Simon ($754,814 over 8 shows) Source: The League of American Theatres and Producers Inc. For information call THE BROADWAY LINE at (212)
302-4111 or (888) 411-BWAY

© Reuters2007All rights reserved

Must Be Tough Making This Kinda Money During the "off season"

At 05 November, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The seven-word mantra is, "When you get paid, we get paid,'' said Michael Winship, president of the Writers Guild of America East.

At 06 November, 2007, Anonymous Kathy LongIsland said...

I was hearing the the producers get to bring in "out of town" stagehands For a show.

These people Stay with the Show and take NY stagehands jobs?
As many as 8 can be on a Show

Is That Right?

At 06 November, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the parent union of Local One, has requested three negotiating sessions with the Broadway producers’ league. The sessions, which are standard procedure whenever a local requests strike authorization from its parent union, are scheduled for Nov. 7, 8 and 9. Meanwhile, the stagehands continue to work under rules imposed by the league last week.

Any Word...
Will the Producers Talk?

At 07 November, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back To The Table Today!

At 27 November, 2007, Anonymous Me said...

Playbill is not owned by NOR is it run by Broadway producers. It is a privately owned company, with no producing endeavors, save its record label.


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