Labor negotiations between the League of American Theatre Owners and Producers and Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Employees took a pair of dramatic turns on Friday, October 12.

The League, which can authorize a "lockout" of union employees, thereby shutting down shows, announced that all shows would remain open through this weekend. Meanwhile, Local One president James J. Claffey, Jr. announced he will call the union's membership together on October 21 to ask for authorization for a strike or other job action. The call for the meeting began a required 10-day process before a strike could actually be implemented.

Local One has been working without a contract since July, and the two sides have been negotiating over a new contract. Each side has presented a so-called "final offer" which has been rejected. For their part, the League has offered a 16 percent wage increase over five years to union employees, while insisting that the union make concessions over the number of employees -- including carpenters and electricians -- that need to be hired during a show's load-in process. The union is standing firm that job cuts are not negotiable.

In the event of either a strike or a lockout, not all of Broadway's 39 theaters would be affected. The New Amsterdam (home of Mary Poppins), The Hilton (home of Young Frankenstein), and theaters owned by the Roundabout, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Lincoln Center Theatre are among the houses not covered by the union's contract.