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IMG Fashion, Lincoln Center Caught Up in New York Fashion Week Union Dispute

>> New York Fashion Week could be picketed, and not by PETA. The first season at Lincoln Center could be marred if a dispute between IMG Fashion, which produces Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, and the union which oversees much of the stagehand and theatrical labor at the performing arts complex is not resolved before Sept. 9, when the shows begin.

The disagreement is centered on the locations IMG plans to erect the Fashion Week tents; a contract between the union and Lincoln Center gives the union jurisdiction for certain locations on the performing arts center's campus, but not in Damrosch Park, where the tents are supposed to be pitched. But according to the union's president, contracts are typically awarded to the union for similar events, and based on that precedent, the union believes IMG should be required to hire union labor for all Fashion Week events. The union was supposed to hold an emergency meeting this morning to discuss their options, and is considering setting up a picket line.

IMG addresses the situation »

An IMG spokesman, meanwhile, wrote via email that the company is working to avoid any further escalation: "The various issues that exist now we are sure will find an amicable solution by September 9. As we move into final preparations, our team is focused on providing the most cost efficient, effective, and user-friendly productions for our designer and sponsor clients and as such, will work diligently to make the move to Lincoln Center as smooth as possible."

IMG currently has a five year contract to host Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, and is expected to use more Lincoln Center facilities in the coming years; the outcome of this dispute could set a precedent for the future relationship between the two groups.

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