Recently, the Web site Craigslist featured the following job postings, which prompted an exchange between Local 802, the League and Craigslist. See President Moriarity’s article for more background.
Music Operator Wanted
Reply to: email@example.com
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Letter from Local 802 to Jed Bernstein, President of the League of American Theatres and Producers.
Oct. 28, 2002
I have to express some dismay at discovering an ad that recently began appearing on the popular New York based Web site, Craigslist. The ad is a job posting seeking a “Music Operator” and a “Conductor” to “operate computerized virtual orchestra for New York theatre production in the event of a labor dispute…availability beginning February 2003.”
I sincerely hope that the League has no involvement with this ad and will do all in its power to stop its further publication. I and the members of Local 802 view the ad as blatant union-busting and a dangerous provocation coming months before negotiations have even begun. There may be those who are spoiling for a fight. I hope they realize that such a confrontation could endanger the jobs of those working in the Broadway theatres as well as the jobs of the tens of thousands of others in hotels, restaurants and other ancillary businesses. Ultimately, however, it is the NYC economy that would suffer the most should the scenario suggested by this ad become a reality.
I am optimistic that you will tell me that the League has nothing to do with these ads and is fully committed to good faith bargaining. I eagerly await your response.
President, Local 802
Letter from the League of American Theatres and Producers to Bill Moriarity.
Oct. 30, 2002
I write in response to your October 28 letter. Let me first state that I agree with your assessment of the risk posed to the economy of the city, our industry and those industries that receive ancillary benefit from Broadway theatre, should there be labor unrest arising out of our negotiations next year. The League has always been, and remains, committed to the collective bargaining process.
It is our hope and expectation that in our pending negotiations, the parties will be able to bargain in good faith and reach an agreement that is satisfactory to all. We hope that we can count upon your membership to share this goal.
While neither the League nor, to our knowledge, any of our members is responsible for placing the advertisement noted in your letter, nothing would suggest that the party responsible for placing this advertisement has any intention other than to bargain in good faith in an effort to reach a resolution. However, given Local 802’s recent history in connection with its negotiations in the performing arts, no employer can dismiss the possibility that you might seek to exert economic pressure via some form of work stoppage in future negotiations.
Therefore, it would seem understandable – perhaps even advisable – for an employer to protect itself in the event Local 802 and its members refuse to render services – whether it be in our pending negotiations or other negotiations in which Local 802 may be engaged.
We look forward to beginning our talks soon and getting to a good place for all concerned.
President, League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc.
E-mail from Bill Dennison to Craig Newmark, the founder of the Web site Craigslist.
Oct. 30, 2002
Two recent job postings on your list have come to our attention. The are #6434919 and #6434853. Both seek employees to replace workers in the event of a labor dispute. In this case a possible labor dispute between Broadway Theatre orchestras represented by Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians and the League of American Theatres and Producers.
I spoke earlier today with a representative in your office, Mr. Jeff Fleming, about our strong objection to the ads. He suggested I put my concerns in writing to you.
The ad seeks strike breakers in the event of a labor dispute, or in common parlance “scabs.” Our current agreement with the League of American Theatres and Producers expires on March 2, 2003. We have been in touch with the League and they, on behalf of all of their members, completely disavow the ad, insist that they had no knowledge of it and are not responsible for its placement.
Our attorneys advise us that interference in a contractual relationship between two parties by a third party leaves that third party open to serious potential liability and that liability is shared by whoever placed the ad, and by the party responsible for its publication, i.e. craigslist.org.
The posting of this ad and its publication on your web site is clearly interference in the contractual relationship between Local 802 and the League of Theatres, in legal terms, tortious interference.
In order to avoid legal action, we ask that the ads be immediately removed from your web site. I look forward to hearing from you.
Assistant to the President, Local 802
E-mail from Craig Newmark to Bill Dennison.
Oct. 30, 2002
Bill, I’ve removed all the ads.
We’re still working on a policy regarding labor issues, and might solicit your opinions on that in the future, since I’m for sure not properly educated on that.
Aside from that, the jobs were possible jobs in the future, and that’s for sure not appropriate. People looking at our site need jobs, and don’t need to be jerked around regarding jobs that might happen in the future.
E-mail from Bill Dennison to Craig Newmark.
Thank you for your quick response.
We will make sure our 10,000 members in the metropolitan New York area are made aware of your web site’s prompt action in resolving this issue.
Also, I would be happy to participate in any discussion you might wish to have on an appropriate policy for solicitations of this kind.