New York, NY (February 7, 2018) – Artists of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater boycotted the company’s annual gala reception at the Kennedy Center last night based on management’s failure to adequately address the group’s substandard wages and benefits. The dancers and stage managers, represented by the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), began negotiations in December for a new collective bargaining agreement, with the current one expiring on May 31st, 2018.
Leonard Egert, National Executive Director of AGMA, stated “It is very concerning that Ailey’s Artists, predominately African-American dancers, earn much less than dancers at comparable companies with similar or even smaller budgets. Management needs to promptly address this glaring disparity.”
Griff Braun, AGMA’s New York Dance Executive, added that “The Ailey company is the fourth largest dance company in the United States, in terms of budget, yet the artists’ salaries and benefits don’t reflect it. Additionally, these Artists put on more performances than any other major dance company in the United States - 175 to 200 per year - with only one-third to one-half the number of dancers at other companies. These hard-working Artists deserve pay that at least meets prevailing industry standards.”
AGMA is seeking an upward adjustment in all wage scales and benefits to address the disparity as compared with other major U.S. dance companies. Negotiations resume later this month.
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