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Joffrey Dancers Protest Lockout

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The dancers of Chicago's Joffrey Ballet will rally against the company's management on Saturday, just in time for the Joffrey Academy of Dance's open house. Members of the troupe, who are represented by the American Guild of Musical Artists, will distribute informational leaflets outside the company's offices to oppose their current lockout.

The event is scheduled to take place from 11:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 10 E. Randolph St., Chicago, during Dance/USA's annual conference.

Over the July Fourth weekend, the Joffrey management released a notice stating that all its artists would be locked out. According to AGMA, the dancers were caught off-guard, as the union was close to reaching a new collective bargaining agreement with the company.

The union said it's aware of only two unresolved problems: a proposal by management to increase weekly work hours with what AGMA characterizes as inadequate compensation and a proposal to eliminate family health coverage.

The dancers "remain optimistic and confident that an agreement that is fair to both parties will be reached," said AGMA in a written statement. "However, they are also aware that without them, there is no Joffrey Ballet."

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