The union leaders at the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), who had filed an unfair labor practice charge against the Martha Graham Dance Company, now expect some indication from the dance group's board following a directors' meeting scheduled for June 22 .
AGMA filed a labor charge on June 1, after the Martha Graham company suspended operations "without warning." The guild says this action threatened the Martha Graham dancers that it represents.
On June 1, AGMA president Linda Mays issued a prepared statement that read, "Although we share in the industry-wide sadness that America's premiere dance company is in such dire financial straits, we need to do everything possible to protect the careers and well-being of the dancers we represent."
A security bond that AGMA claims to have initiated has now come into play. "The dancers' bond gives them 35 percent of their salaries, so they won't feel the pinch of unemployment right away," a guild spokesperson told Playbill On-Line. "But they're still not active or dancing."
The guild claims that the dance company did not bargain with the union before closing, as mandated by the National Labor Relations Act. The union's labor charge, which was filed with the National Labor Relations Board, has not been acted on by the government agency, according to a guild source. The Martha Graham Dance Company board is expected to meet on June 22 in the mid-afternoon.
AGMA is a 4,000-strong performing arts union which also represents dancers at the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera and the New York City Ballet.
-- By Murdoch McBride