Talks break down, Broadway strike to continue

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NEW YORK, Nov 27 (Reuters) Talks between striking Broadway stagehands and producers and theaters broke down today morning, extending a strike that has shut most of Broadway since November 10, the union said.

The two sides negotiated all night for the second night in a row but they agreed to end the talks today morning, said Bruce Cohen, a spokesman for Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

''We got to point in the negotiations where the two sides could not come to an agreement. There is no deal and there is no date or time to reconvene,'' Cohen told NY1 television.

With the union and the League of American Theatres and Producers unable to reach a deal, 26 Broadway theaters will remain dark. The strike has already cost the industry the lucrative Thanksgiving week, amounting to millions of dollars in losses.

Some two dozen Broadway shows have been suspended but eight shows have remained open because those theaters have separate contracts with the league.

At issue was how many stagehands must be employed by each production.

The union -- representing electricians, carpenters, sound and lighting technicians, and scenery and prop handlers -- had resisted cuts in staffing unless they were offset by concessions in a new contract. Producers insisted they need flexibility to reflect the different production needs of each show.

The last strike to hit Broadway was in 2003 when musicians walked out for four days. Before that it had been nearly two decades since Broadway was affected by a labour dispute.

REUTERS RJ ND1942

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