For immediate release
November 16, 2007
New York, NY – UNITE HERE stands in solidarity with our brothers and sisters at IATSE Local One in their fight for a fair contract with the League of American Theaters and Producers.
Many UNITE HERE members in New York City have been directly affected by this strike. Our members work in NYC hotels and restaurants and in costume shops making many of the amazing and complicated costumes that are worn in most Broadway theatre productions. The costumes that UNITE HERE members create are a major part of the magic of Broadway theatre.
“Broadway is the premier theater experience in the world,” says Jan Kastendieck, a UNITE HERE representative at Parsons-Meares who has made costumes for numerous Broadway shows including The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera and The Little Mermaid. “Producers are having a record year. This is a multi-million dollar industry and the producers need to remember all the people who work to make these shows successful.”
Stagehands and costume artisans are among the people who work hard behind the scenes to create the illusion on stage that theatre-goers love so much. IATSE stagehands and UNITE HERE costume artisans are intentionally and seamlessly invisible to the audience. But without their craft and labor backstage and offstage, there would be no magic on Broadway – a magic so powerful and unique that it draws people from all over the country and all over the world to New York City – a union town — to experience Broadway theatre. They do not usually get applause during a show, but the stagehands deserve the public’s support in their struggle for respect and their fair share from their employer.
Bruce Raynor, General President of UNITE HERE says: “We know that a strike is never easy on anyone, including those who are striking, and that IATSE Local One did not take this action lightly. In fact, this is the first time they have gone on strike in the 121 years of their union’s existence. We believe that IATSE did everything they could to avoid this strike and that the responsibility for this shutdown of Broadway theatre lies with the League, an employer group that operates within a billion dollar industry that reported record box office grosses last year.”
UNITE HERE strongly supports IATSE’s decision to strike and the right of all workers to strike when faced with a threat from their employer to their livelihoods and to their safety. We urge the League to negotiate, in good faith and with the respect their employees deserve, a fair resolution so that we can all – workers, artists, tourists and theatre-loving New Yorkers – get back to enjoying Broadway theatre during the upcoming holiday season.
UNITE HERE is a labor union that represents 450,000 workers in the hotel, restaurant, gaming, laundry, textile and apparel industries. Our members make many of the costumes for most Broadway theatre productions.