Carnegie Hall concert goes on, after strike canceled performance

Thu Oct 3, 2013 7:34pm EDT
 
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By Luke Swiderski

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A performance by the American Symphony Orchestra proceeded as planned at New York's Carnegie Hall on Thursday, a day after the famed concert hall canceled a separate performance for the first time in its 122-year history because of a labor dispute.

A strike by stagehands forced the cancellation, but the union temporarily suspended its strike on Thursday, allowing the concert hall to open its doors for now.

A union leader told Reuters he was optimistic the two sides could reach a permanent deal by Friday.

The dispute hangs on whether the stagehands - mostly prop-makers, carpenters and electricians - should have a role in a new educational wing that the Carnegie Hall Corp plans to open above the hall next year.

The corporation wants to hire cheaper labor at the education wing.

Negotiations with the union took an unprecedented turn on Wednesday when Local 1 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees decided to go on strike for the first time in the history of Carnegie Hall.

However, when James Claffey, president of Local 1, emerged from negotiations on Thursday afternoon, he announced the union had agreed to pull down the picket line for the day, citing progress in the talks.

"This is a goodwill gesture towards Carnegie Hall," said Claffey, whose local has negotiated some of the most lucrative pay in the industry.   Continued...