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'Love, Janis,' AFM Come Together

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The peaceful protesters outside "Love, Janis" at the Village Theatre have receded into history, like flower children and love beads.

The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Local 802 first dispatched the leafleting throng April 10, to bring theatregoers' attention to its dispute with the producers of the musical biography of '60s icon Janis Joplin. The musicians contended that producers weeded out union supporters during the process of hiring musicians; the producers responded that the union was simply frustrated because its attempts to organize the musicians were unsuccessful.

AFM filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and set up the protest outside the theatre on Bleecker Street, replete with a 15-foot rubber rat as a visual aid. The musicians and their supporters on the line did not attempt to prevent people from attending if they already held tickets, but did discuss the situation with potential audience members and urged them not to buy tickets.

The two sides settled their differences Fri., April 20, although details of the settlement are vague. Gary Springer, a spokesperson for the production, told Back Stage, "Union rights have been expanded, but not to the detriment of our musicians or producers."

In a prepared statement released to the media, the show's management stated that "after good solid discussion among the parties and the NLRB (who keeps on eye on these kinds of things), the producers and the union have come to an agreement that benefits and is acceptable to all. The union is satisfied, the musicians are satisfied, the producers are satisfied, the audience is satisfied. Everybody wins."

AFM did not return calls for comment.

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