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the take

Union Chief Thomas Short Makes Labor Unrest Fun Again

Thomas ShortCourtesy of IATSE

It seems like just yesterday we were begging the entertainment industry's various union chiefs and producers' guilds to do something, anything, to liven up the daily avalanche of boring labor-unrest stories. Lo and behold, along comes Thomas Short, head of the international stagehands' union, to do just that! It turns out that a polarizing figure who's not afraid to call people names — and who, through a quirk of timing, has suddenly become involved in both the Hollywood and Broadway crises — is just what we needed to make things fun again.

In his finest moment, the ruggedly handsome Short — whose union represents writers for animation, don't ask us why — bristled at the Writers Guild's suggestion that striking Guild members would not be allowed to work on animated features. In a sharply worded letter addressed to "the house of hate commonly known as the Writers Guild of America West," Short threatened legal action if the Guild follows through.

Short has also injected himself into the fight between Broadway stagehands and producers; Variety reports on rumors that Short, undercutting the local branch of his own union, privately told producers that he would not authorize a strike. This morning Michael Riedel follows up on that, citing further rumors that Short has seen and approves of the producers' final offer to the stagehands.

Undercutting his own union? Spewing vitriol? Now that's what we're talking about! Thomas Short, a grateful nation thanks you.

IATSE Chief Blasts WGA [Variety]
Strike Looms Over Broadway [Variety]
Producers, Stagehands Can't Agree [NYP]
Earlier: Why Is Entertainment Labor Unrest So Freaking Boring?