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Broadway Stagehands OK Strike

November 20, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ Stagehands at 23 Broadway theaters voted Friday to authorize a strike, threatening to shut down popular shows like ``Miss Saigon,″ ``Chicago″ and ``Fosse″ just as the busy holiday theater season approaches.

In a unanimous vote, 385 members of Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees authorized union leaders to call a walkout as soon as Thanksgiving Day, said James Claffey Jr., the union’s business manager.

The League of American Theaters and Producers, a trade group that represents the 23 theaters, said Broadway fans shouldn’t worry.

``We’ve been engaged in negotiations for some time, and we expect to continue to do so and reach an amicable settlement without any disruption to theatergoers,″ league president Jed Bernstein said in a statement.

The stagehands’ contract expired July 31, Claffey said.

The workers are employed at 23 Broadway theaters, but since five are currently dark, only 18 shows would be affected, said Kylie Robertson, a spokeswoman for the theater owners.

Claffey said union members were most concerned about sick leave provisions, wage increases and keeping a rule that prevents arbitrary firings, he said.

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