I'm about ready to give up on bringing my hard-earned dollars to Broadway.
Twelve hours after negotiations between The League of American Theatres and Producers and Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E.) began again this morning -- and 13 additional hours after yesterday's long marathon session -- all we in the audience are getting is bupkus.
According to Linda Winer at Newsday:
Talks broke down between the stagehands and the producers Sunday night, leaving 27 Broadway shows dark at the start of the Thanksgiving week.
According to a representative for Local One, the League of American Theatres and Producers informed the union around 9:30 p.m. that its offers "were not enough. The producers left the building."
Additionally, The League has just issued the following statement:
We are profoundly disappointed to have to tell you that talks broke off with Local One, IATSE tonight, and that no further negotiations are scheduled.
We presented a comprehensive proposal that responded to the union’s concerns about loss of jobs and earnings and attempted to address our need for some flexibilities in running our business. The union rejected our effort to compromise and continues to require us to hire more people than we need.
Out of respect for our public and our loyal theatergoers, many of whom are traveling from around the world, we regret that we must cancel performances through Sunday November 25.
-- Charlotte St. Martin
The League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc.
For all those folks that were holding out hope like me that the two sides would negotiate in good faith, I'm sorry to tell you that they don't appear capable of doing that, and it appears that The League must be called to reckon for walking away from the table when so many theatre fans were counting on them.
They've essentially proffered a big "F" you, not only to the stagehands, but especially to the audience. They are increasingly proving that they don't deserve our loyal patronage.
We are the people who pay for tickets long in advance. We are the people who take a chance on a show before it's even opened simply because we love the theatre. We are the people who have chosen to spend our dollars on the entertainment offered by the Great White Way rather than on all the myriad options available to us.
Since you The League can so easily decide to suspend negotiations, here's something you should know. We the audience can easily move our discretionary dollars elsewhere.
And guess what?! We will!
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).