October 08, 2002
Local 868 Strike Settled at the Mechanic Theatre|
42ND STREET Goes On, No Shows Cancelled
IATSE Thanks Actors' Equity for Support
Box office personnel at the Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore ended a four-day strike against Clear Channel Entertainment after receiving a strong show of solidarity from Actors' Equity and the cast of 42ND STREET. The Council instructed the cast of the national tour to observe the strike following an emergency meeting on Friday, October 4th.
"With the agreement between Local 868 and Theatre Management Group, the actors, stagehands, box office staff and other union members who had observed the strike were able to return to the theatre so the show could go on" said Equity's Executive Director, Alan Eisenberg.
Eisenberg said the cast was instructed to honor the strike under a provision of the Production Contract that was invoked for the first time in his 21 years as Executive Director. The process was set in motion when he received a request from Thomas C. Short, IATSE's President, requesting that Equity observe the picket line. Meanwhile, Equity's Director of Organizing, Flora Stamatiades, went to Baltimore to meet with the actors and stage managers.
"There was tremendous solidarity from the entire cast" said Stamatiades, who said that they were all in favor of supporting the strikers. "I was extremely proud to see this company take the risk to support our brothers and sisters in the IA."
"The Council met on Friday, and by 1:45 PM, I called the IA" said Eisenberg, characterizing Council's resolution to support the strike a "clear demonstration of our commitment to other unions and guilds." At 7:45 PM, Local 868's negotiating team came out of the theatre to announce a settlement, arousing cheers from strikers, actors, stage hands and others on the picket line.
In a press statement, IATSE President Short especially acknowledged Equity's support, saying that "It is this kind of solidarity that demonstrates that we will stand together side by side and not allow our members to be forced to accept substandard wages and working conditions. This dispute has unified the IATSE and Actors' Equity."
Eisenberg added that he intends to meet with Short to build on this solidarity and will also seek to meet with the Musicians, SSD&C, and Scenic Artists.
The national tour of 42ND STREET reopened in Pittsburgh this week.