Teamsters File Against AGMA Before NLRB

The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), which recently took three major dance companies to arbitration, has found itself on the receiving end of a labor complaint. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, AFL-CIO has alleged that AGMA withheld Christmas bonuses from its clerical and professional staff because the employees were seeking union representation.

The Teamsters filed the unfair labor charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Mon., May 4. A hearing date hasn't been set.

Ethan Geto, press spokeman for AGMA, called the Teamsaters' charges "completely without merit. AGMA voluntarily recognized the Teamsters in December as respresentatives of AGMA's clerical, professional and administrative staff" and have been negotiating in good faith.

He added that Christmas bonuses are made "year to year. There are many years in the past when there were no Christmas bonuses. This was wacross the board; no one at AGMA got a bonus."

Geto said that the Teamsters represent 12 of AGMA's 18 staff members.

In the fall of 1997, AGMA's workers elected the Teamsters to represent them for purposes of collective bargaining, according to Frank Perez, a Teamster business agent. AGMA and the Teamsters stipulated before the NLRB on Dec. 11 that they had mutually resolved the components of the Teamsters' bargaining unit, and negotiations began early this year.

Kevin Nolen, a Teamsters' negotiator representing the AGMA employees, told Back Stage that AGMA actually had frozen all employees' wages and bonuses "which we felt was an act of intimidation."

AGMA represents ballet and modern dancers, opera singers, concert singers, and staging personnel