Menu

Vegas Musicians Threaten Newton Strike

The Musicians Union of Las Vegas has called for a strike against Mr. Las Vegas.

A union leader said Thursday that members were asked not to play "The Wayne Newton Holiday Show" scheduled to open at the Flamingo Las Vegas hotel-casino Thursday night.

"We've been negotiating with Wayne for close to one year... and we've been conceding to his demands and wishes," said Thom Pastor, the union's secretary treasurer. Pastor said Newton would not agree to provisions that are standard on the Strip.

"Mr. Las Vegas just did not want to, in any way, shape or form, measure up to that bar. That is very unfortunate," he said.

Newton, through a publicist, announced the strike threat hours before curtain call.

In a statement, the Las Vegas Strip fixture accused the union of negotiating in bad faith and proposing an "eleventh-hour" contract containing new demands.

He said the show would go on.

"I am confident many of the orchestra members will do the right thing and continue to perform. I am also certain I will locate great musicians to play for those members who chose to walk out on strike," Newton said. "If I have to play piano myself, and I am the only one up there, I will put on the show of my life and my audiences will not be disappointed."

The musical revue, produced by Newton's Erin Miel Inc., is being promoted as the only headliner holiday show on the Strip. It promises seasonal favorites performed with "his talented orchestra, ensemble singers, exotic animals and other holiday surprises."

Pastor said three musicians had resigned from the union rather than boycott opening night. That leaves about 14 union musicians who may not play, he said.

"Right now most of the musicians that have been loyal to him, through their own decisions, are choosing not to play at this point," he said. "But we won't know until tonight."

Both sides said the primary sticking point was whether musicians should be paid for rehearsals scheduled just before or after a performance.

The Musicians Union of Las Vegas is affiliated with the AFL-CIO and represents about 700 musicians. This would be its first strike since 1989, when it boycotted several Strip hotels for 7 months over the use of new technologies to replace live performers, Pastor said.