November 30, 2007
While most of the media were either busy gurgling over the joy of Broadway theatergoers or regurgitating the “damage” done to the city by the 19-day stagehands strike, Michael Riedel of the New York Post got the story right when he wrote on November 30:
The seeds of the showdown were planted more than 10 years ago, when a group of aggressive producers, appalled at the amount of money it cost them to put on a show, decided to take on the unions one by one. They launched their first attack in 2003 against the musicians. After a four-day strike, the producers were able to reduce — but not eliminate the number of players they had to hire for a show. Three years ago, they went after the actors in an attempt to reduce the cost of touring companies. There was no strike, but the negotiations were nasty and protracted. On the sidelines, watching these clashes were the stagehands — the toughest union of all. They knew they were next.