As of this morning, talks between Broadway producers and the stagehands' union have stalled. On Tuesday, each side issued it's “final offer”, and neither side blinked. No new talks are scheduled.
The major point of disagreement remains the staffing requirements for the load-in, the period during which a show moves into a theatre, equipment and sets installed, lighting hung and focused, etc. Producers contend that they're required to have too many union employees on hand, with stagehands just ‘sitting around' while work is performed by just a few specialists at a time. For a business in which only 1 of five shows ever makes a profit, this kind of ‘featherbedding ‘ or padding the employment rolls is simply unfair, producers say.
In exchange for cuts in these requirements, producers had offered a 16% pay increase, but the union has stated that it will not make a concessionary agreement nor accept any cuts to staffing and work-hours.
Stagehands are the highest-paid union employees in Broadway Theatres.
In 2003, Union musicians struck for several days before New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg intervened to broker a deal. The city economy receives $5 billion annually in direct and indirect income from Broadway, so it seems likely that Bloomberg will again step in before a lockout interferes with the the approaching holiday shopping and tourist season.