No progress in the Joffrey labor talks.The Chicago Tribune
Time Out Chicago
Chicago attorney Barbara Hillman, who represents the dancers through their union, the American Guild of Musical Artists, said her ability to talk meaningfully with the entire company was compromised because many are out of town this week for summer break — she was able to talk with 15 dancers, roughly a third of the company. She would not say when the union and Joffrey executives will meet again.
On the date of a threatened lockout of the Joffrey Ballet’s dancers by company management, in an ongoing dispute over contract negotiations, it appears as if a gallery of current company members has been deactivated on the Joffrey’s website.
The dispute mostly regards the company’s proposed addition of five working hours to the dancers’ work-weeks, without additional salary increases aside from a 3 percent annual bump for the cost of living, according to Joffrey Ballet marketing manager Sarah Nelson. There also appears to be disagreement on minimum levels of stage management personnel, and circumstances under which academy students perform with the troupe.
And on the minus side: Some Joffrey dancers are barely making a living wage. And if they start working 30 hours a week instead of 25—one bone of contention—at no more pay, some will be making roughly twice minimum wage per hour at a part-time job that runs 38 weeks per year. (Also, according to Zac Whittenburg in TimeOut Chicago, union rep Barbara Hillman disputes management’s claim that some dancers make 75-plus: “There is no one in this company who makes 55 thousand dollars a year. No one.” She also maintains that the artists are more unified now, after the lockout, than they were last week: “The company’s actions were counterproductive.”)