Tentative Agreement Reached In Radio City Dispute

Radio City Entertainment and the union representing musicians for its famed “Christmas Spectacular” reached a tentative contract agreement Thursday that both sides said would allow the orchestra to return to work after more than two weeks off the job.

The union and management had been working with a mediator to try to resolve the conflict over wages and benefits, which came to a head November 2nd when the musicians went on strike and two preseason shows were canceled.

Since then, the show has gone on with recorded music. The union said the performers wanted to return to work while negotiations continued, but Radio City denied that they were locked out. Both parties said the orchestra would return for Friday’s 2:30 p.m. show.

“We have reached a deal on a long-term contract that will guarantee live music at Radio City Music Hall for years to come,” union president David Lennon said in a statement. “This is a win for the musicians, management, the city of New York and audiences from all over the world.”

Lennon thanked Mayor Michael Bloomberg “for his help in bringing the parties together and his support for live music in New York City.” James Dolan, president of Cablevision Systems Corp., which owns Radio City, also thanked Bloomberg for providing a forum and mediator.

“We are very pleased to reach an agreement,” Dolan said in a statement.

Neither a spokesman for the American Federation of Musicians Local 802 nor a Radio City spokeswoman would discuss terms of the deal.

Bloomberg said in a statement that the agreement “announces to the world the official start of New York City’s holiday season and affirms that our city will continue hosting spectacular events, and attracting countless new visitors.”

The show, which features the chorus-line kicks of the Rockettes dancers, is known around the world. Tickets run as high as $250.

— Associated Press