Despite the stylish turnout expected during next month's Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, things could get ugly. The WSJ reports that the Local One union, which oversees much of the labor used at performing arts complexes, including Lincoln Center, is currently in the throes of a major labor-related dispute with IMG Fashion and its new venue.
Essentially the dispute comes down to specific locations to be used for Fashion Week, and past relationships between Local One and Lincoln Center. According to Local One's contract with the venue, the union has jurisdiction over several areas of the center's campus, while the outside plaza area is exempt from requiring the use of union labor. In the past however, events on the plaza, including the annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, have relied on Local One labor, which President James J. Claffey, Jr. believes is a precedent that should be continued.
Since Local One has no jurisdiction over the plaza property, Lincoln Center is, for the most part, taking a step back and leaving the decision to hire Local One workers in the hands of IMG, which is renting the space for the week. A spokesperson for IMG says that they're trying to work out the disagreement, although cost, efficiency, and "user-friendly" productions for designers and sponsors will be major factors.
Local One is meeting today to discuss its options with regards to the event, however possible courses of action might be as extreme as setting up a picket line.
Though this is probably offers some relief for designers who have already opted to show their spring collections off-site, there's no doubt that an agreement between all three parties will have to be reached eventually—IMG not only has a five-year contract with Lincoln Center, but it's also expected that future seasons will lead to using more of Lincoln Center's various facilities.