Broadway faces possible strike

Protesters show their support for Broadway theater cleaners, porters and matrons at a demonstration in Times Square in New York. The union representing Broadway service workers is threatening a strike over healthcare benefits. (Emmanuel Dunand / AFP/Getty Images / December 12, 2012)

Just as the Broadway theater community was getting back on its feet following Hurricane Sandy, another potential showstopper is headed its way.

The union representing cleaners, porters, elevator operators, matrons and other service workers at most Broadway theaters voted Wednesday to authorize a strike, according to reports. The union, Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, is in a dispute with the Broadway League, primarily over healthcare benefits. 

The current contract is set to expire on Dec. 30. A strike during the holiday season would be a serious financial blow to most Broadway productions. Shows generally see an upswing in box-office revenue during the weeks of Christmas and New Year's Day

The Broadway League issued a statement saying that it "looks forward to reaching a mutually beneficial agreement" with the union.

Members of the union have been demonstrating outside the offices of the Broadway League in recent days. Union leaders said they will return to the bargaining table on Friday, according to a report from local news channel NY1.

A strike would affect 32 Broadway theaters, out of a total of 40 houses. The last time the Broadway theater community was hit by a major labor strike was in 2007, when the union representing stagehands stopped work for more than two weeks. 

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