Stagehands' strike at Kravis hurting nearby restaurants

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The union representing stagehands at the Kravis Center may meet as early as Thursday morning with Kravis Center officials in hopes of negotiating an end to a strike that has already forced the cancelation of two performances of the show Jersey Boys.

Still, the union says they are no closer to a deal and say weekend performances of the popular show - that tells the rags-to-riches tale of a 1960s-era rock and roll band - are in serious jeopardy.

And the impact is already being felt at restaurants around the Kravis Center, as two nights of shows have already been canceled.

The last thing Pampas Grille Chef Thomas Fisher needs right now are empty tables.

"I have a newborn baby on the way that's due in May," said Fisher. "Tips are a big part of my paycheck."

The restaurant is finding out what life is like without 2,200 people who want dinner before an 8 o'clock curtain.

Instead of a full house, they had forty empty tables.

Their business manager is concerned about what the loss of business will mean for his sixty employees.

"If this continues, we might have to do a layoff in the future," said Bill Drexel of Pampas Grille.

Stagehands still say they're not going to put together the sets for Jersey Boys unless they agree with the Kravis Center on a new contract.

They say they're owed millions of dollars in back wages, though the Kravis Center insists a settlement can be reached in January without a strike.

West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio weighed in, saying, "The folks who are striking need to be heard. It's time to settle this."

The folks at City Place's City Cellar restaurant second that.

"On a Kravis night, when they are sold out, by 6:30 we are 100 percent full. As of right now, at 6:15, we are only looking at 20 percent. It has drastically impacted business," said manager Ferenc Fehervari.

At Pampas, the business manager implored the two sides to reach agreement.

"We gotta keep people working. That's the whole thing about this country. I don't know what their issues are, but there's gotta be compromise on both sides," said Drexel.

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