I believe the League had announced way back when that should Local 1 strike, the stagehands would subsequently be locked out of the theaters until a contract was in place and the strike was lifted.
The current Grinch situation as I understand it, is that the producers of Grinch had a one time only contract for a limited run. Local 1 would have honored that contract, but as Jujamcyn owned that theater and is abiding by the League negotiations, they will not allow the "house" IATSE members back into the theater.
The Grinch producer subsequently sued the Jujamycn Corp. for breach or some such.
Jujamycn also filed a $35 million suit against Local 1 today. Here's a NY Times clip:
The Nederlander Producing Company, which owns 9 of the 27 Broadway theaters affected by the stagehands’ strike, is suing their union for $35 million in damages, claiming that the strike against the Nederlander theaters is illegal.
The producers of seven of the shows in Nederlander theaters joined in the suit, which was filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan yesterday.
While the Nederlander company is a member of the League of American Theaters and Producers, and company officials have been sitting in on the negotiations alongside the league, Nederlander has a separate, and somewhat different, contract with the union.
It expired at the same time that the league’s contract does, however. Before the talks started, Nederlander and the union agreed that they would offer each other at least the same terms that are in the league’s contract with the union once it had been settled.
Because of this agreement, Nederlander theaters declined to participate when the league imposed some of its proposed work rules on the stagehands last month. But the Nederlander officials did say in a letter to the union that they would lock the stagehands out if they struck other theaters in the league.
Nothing in the agreement prevents either side from striking or from locking union members out. As it turned out, the stagehands did strike the Nederlander theaters.
But the lawsuit argues that the union has been striking the Nederlander theaters solely to make the organization pressure the league to settle — making the strike against the Nederlanders essentially, the suit argues, an unlawful secondary boycott.
As evidence, the suit points to the signs held by striking stagehands in front of the Nederlander theaters, which refer only to the league, not the Nederlanders.
A spokesman for the stagehands’ union said it had not been notified of the suit and could not comment.
Meanwhile, the legal subplot thickened for “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical.”
The producers of “Grinch” filed an injunction yesterday to reopen the show, and a hearing was held in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. The union has ordered the picket line to come down at the St. James Theater, where “Grinch” was playing, arguing that a strike against that show was unfair because there were some separately negotiated rules for the stagehands.
Officials from the Jujamcyn theater chain, which owns the St. James and is technically the employer of the stagehands, said they would not reopen any of their five theaters until a deal was reached with the union. In other words, Jujamcyn was locking out the St. James stagehands.
In a courtroom filled with child actors from “Grinch,” John G. Hutchinson, the lawyer for the show’s producers, based his argument on the show’s contract, which has some special amendments that had been negotiated with the union — amendments mostly dealing with the show’s extended schedule of 12 to 15 performances a week.
But Neil Abramson, the lawyer for Jujamcyn, said the minor amendments to the “Grinch” contract had nothing to do with Jujamcyn’s right to lock out workers in a labor dispute, a right that was explicitly upheld in the show’s contract with the theater.
As for why Jujamcyn was locking the stagehands out, Mr. Abramson said it was to prevent a situation in which the theater is open and filled with children and the stagehands’ union suddenly decides to strike again.
The judge adjourned the case until this morning.
Moving on from the legal drama, the four Broadway shows set to take part in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade tomorrow will perform as scheduled. Three are in theaters unaffected by the strike, and the fourth, “Legally Blonde,” is going ahead anyway.
The “Blonde” performers, however, have had to figure out new costumes because the wardrobe union is honoring the stagehands’ picket line.
And the producers’ league released last week’s ticket grosses yesterday. They were, well, skimpy. Broadway did $2.9 million in ticket sales, plus whatever was sold at “Young Frankenstein,” the only show not reporting its grosses.
To put that into perspective, the grosses two weeks ago were around $16.7 million — again, plus whatever “Young Frankenstein” sold.
For my own two cents, I spent a few hours this weekend and last out on the picket line with my other Local 1 brothers, and the sense of community and support was truly incredible. While the circumstances stink for all involved, it was really nice to see so many ushers, wardrobe/hair/makeup personnel, actors, and musicians out on the lines with us.
What was really neat to see was that Local 802 AFM (the musicians' union) told their members they're not to carry Local 1 picket signs, but are welcome to bring their instruments and carry those. I saw a few percussionists playing on the line outside "The Lion King", and I've heard that the guys over at "Chicago" have been playing a lot, too. Really neat to see how everybody bands together in situations like this.
FWIW, and bearing in mind that I speak solely for myself and my opinions in no way represent those of Local 1, my employers, or anybody else other than my own loud mouth,
i've watched some of the stuff NBC and CBS are reporting on this and, while not horribly slanted, it made me want to puke a couple of times. they constantly have these B-way punters on going on about their oh so sad stories of missing a musical or play they "just really wanted to see" and calling the whole situation "unfair". interesting how they only notice us when we prevent them from enjoying a play and we get no kudos for when we make a wonderful production...even at my extremely liberal and union-supporting college, people just don't care, and they don't take notice of their own techs...
i don't expect acknowledgment, i do like it when i get it. all i really want is for someone other than another tech or actor to ask me "hey, how's your show goin'?" or "i liked the [insert theatre craft here] on [insert show name here]". people say this stuff to actors all the time. in fact i'd prefer anything over the blank stare i get when i tell people i do technical theatre.