The contract is the company's first negotiated with the American Guild of Musical Artists, which has represented the dancers since January, and was ratified by the company's board of directors on November 10. Negotiations between the company and the union took nearly a year.
Under the provisions of the contract, the dancers get a 5.5 percent raise over three years, although the season is a week shorter and the company will produce four shows rather than five. Dancers' salaries currently average around $28,000 for 35 weeks of work.
Earlier this year, AGMA filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board claiming that Ballet West was not bargaining in good faith. At the time, after months of negotiations, the company had withdrawn its previous agreement to some contract provisions, and would not negotiate further. The complaint was later withdrawn amid some speculation that the NLRB was going to rule in management's favor.
In December 2004, in order to address an operating deficit, Ballet West cut its season from 38 weeks to 35 and cut five dancers, leading its dancers to seek representation by AGMA.