Unions Partner Against NYC Ballet

Two performers' unions have teamed up to fight what they call "unacceptable labor relations policy" at the New York City Ballet.

The American Guild of Musical Artists and Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians announced Thursday that their respective negotiating committees met on Jan. 24 to discuss ways to combat the ballet's "unacceptable approach to contract negotiations." AGMA represents dancers; Local 802 represents orchestra musicians. Members of both unions are working under contracts that expired in August.

In a joint statement, the unions said that they agreed to wage freezes last year "despite the fact that NYCB's fiscal problems seem to be caused by questionable artistic and administrative planning, by a development department that isn't raising enough money, and a publicity department that isn't selling enough tickets." The unions went on to call for a wage increase, describing a further freeze as "unacceptable" and saying that the two negotiating committees will meet again "to consider joint actions to compel City Ballet to address their respective members' needs in a more positive, acceptable manner."

The dates for resumption of negotiations between the ballet and the two unions have not yet been set. AGMA and the ballet have agreed to meet with a federal mediator in April.