With an overwhelming majority of support, the dancers of Nevada Ballet Theatre (NBT) have signed cards to form a union and join the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA). In a letter to the management of NBT, the dancers stated “This is a decision made in the interest of longevity and artistic achievement for the company, mutually beneficial working relationships, and long-term health. As dancers, the lifeblood of this organization, we hold ourselves and the company to a high standard and believe our decision will elevate the company to a nationally recognized institution.”
“Nevada Ballet Theatre is a fantastic company of high-level dancers who have devoted their lives to this important art form,” said Len Egert, National Executive Director of AGMA. “They should be guaranteed the kinds of conditions and protections that other dancers of their caliber have experienced for years in AGMA companies around the United States.”
On Monday, October 28th, AGMA requested that NBT voluntarily recognize the union as the exclusive bargaining representative for the dancers, upon verification of majority support. NBT management subsequently declined to recognize the dancers’ union and has initiated an anti-union campaign, including paid meetings with NBT board members, captive audience meetings with management, and targeted, personal letters to individual dancers from the ballet leadership encouraging them to vote ‘No’ to the union.
Griff Braun, AGMA’s Director of Organizing and Outreach, said “The career of a professional dancer is extremely difficult and often short. The artists of Nevada Ballet Theatre have come together in union to have a voice in their working and artistic lives and it is disappointing that NBT management has chosen to ignore that voice.”
A National Labor Relations Board representation election will be held at Nevada Ballet Theatre on December 4th.