AFM Accuses Radio City

The union representing musicians at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall claims the venue’s operator demanded that the union president publish a letter in The New York Times admitting to making false statements about contract negotiations.

David Lennon, president of Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, said a one-day strike by musicians and stagehands November 2nd was caused by the union’s refusal to publish the letter. Lennon said it was personally demanded by James Dolan, CEO of Cablevision Systems Corp., which operates Radio City.

“Dolan is demanding that the union falsely admit and publish in The New York Times that we lied to the press, the patrons of Radio City and the public, and that is a bold-face lie,” Lennon said. “It is also an unlawful act.”

He added that he has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.

Local 802 released what it claims is a fax that Radio City sent November 2nd to tell union officials what to say in the letter.

“Local 802 sincerely regrets that it lied and misled the public, the press and the patrons of Radio City Music Hall about Radio City’s position at the bargaining table during our recent contract negotiations,” the letter begins.

Radio City would not confirm the authenticity of the fax and wouldn’t comment on the alleged demand but issued a statement on the dispute.

“Local 802 continues to lie to the public and its members. Despite our repeated efforts, we have been unable to conclude a collective bargaining agreement and will not negotiate in the press. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular will continue to go on, as scheduled.”

The labor dispute between the parties led to the cancellation of two pre-season Christmas Spectacular performances November 2nd. The venue has chosen to move forward with the show using pre-recorded music.

The AFM claims Radio City wants to reduce overtime pay, while the venue says it has offered the musicians an increase in salary and benefits in what it calls a lucrative contract.