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Apollo Strike Threat Called Off

February 20, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ The show will go on at the Apollo Theatre.

A planned stagehands’ strike that threatened a presidential debate between Democrats Al Gore and Bill Bradley was called off Sunday. Theater management and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees reached an agreement just after dawn, the union and the theater said.

Both candidates had vowed not to cross a picket line at the 1,483-seat theater.

Union workers, who have been without a contract since September, announced Saturday that they would strike at noon Monday _ hours before the scheduled debate _ unless they had a new deal.

``A new contract that calls for an increase in wages and benefits and overtime provisions has been reached, and there will be no walkout at the Apollo on Monday,″ union spokesman Bruce Cohen said. The new agreement was to be signed by the union and management later Sunday, he said.

Grace Blake, executive director of The Apollo Theatre Foundation, also announced the deal.

``We believe that the negotiations have produced a fair and equitable agreement,″ Blake said in a statement Sunday.

Union workers had charged that the theater was not negotiating in good faith, and had demanded reinstatement of a fired shop steward.

The Bradley-Gore debate, focusing on race and urban issues, is the only one scheduled in New York before the state’s March 7 presidential primary.

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