November 29, 2007 / 1:56 AM / 12 years ago

Deal brokered to end Broadway strike

A Broadway street sign hangs in New York's Time's Square, November 29, 2007. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Broadway theaters and the striking stagehands union have reached a deal to end a strike which has kept most of the premier U.S. theater district dark since November 10, negotiators for both sides said on Wednesday.

“Performance for all shows will begin tomorrow night,” said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of The League of American Theaters and Producers.

“The agreement is a good compromise that serves our industry,” St. Martin said.

Negotiations resumed on Sunday and have continued in recent days between the theaters and producers and stagehands Local 1 after talks broke down on November 18, leaving 26 theaters dark through the lucrative Thanksgiving Week.

Most Broadway theaters have been dark for more than two weeks after stagehands went out on strike on November 10. Some two dozen Broadway shows have been suspended including “Wicked,” “Jersey Boys,” “Chicago” and “Avenue Q.” Eight shows, including “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!,” have remained open because they have separate contracts with the league.

The issue which led to the strike was how many stagehands must be employed by each production.

The union — representing 3,000 electricians, carpenters, sound and lighting technicians, and scenery and prop handlers — has resisted cuts in staffing unless they are offset by concessions in a new contract.

Producers insisted they needed flexibility to reflect the different production needs of each show.

The last strike to hit Broadway was in 2003, when musicians walked out for four days. Before that it had been nearly two decades since Broadway was affected by a labor dispute.

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