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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Nevada Ballet petitions to unionize


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I did notice that a high percentage of the annual budget was going to the outreach program.  It is much higher than at other companies.  I did not realize that most fundraising was devoted to that program.  Thanks for that information.  It sounds like a great program, but there needs to be a healthy company to complement the outreach.   I hope that, in the future, the company will consider doing more fundraising for dancer support, as many companies do.

The "administrative" costs at NBT are also a greater percentage of the total budget than at other companies of about the same size.  The school costs are about the same as one finds at similar companies, though perhaps they shouldn't be, since the summer programs at NBT are much smaller.  Perhaps some of the outreach program expenses are counted with the school and administrative expenses?  I couldn't really tell from the Charity Navigator's reports.

Compared to other companies of the same size and with about the same number of performances per year, NBT also devotes less of its annual budget to company performances.  I don't know whether any dancer salaries or performance bonuses (when the management actually pays them) are counted in the performance category.  Certainly, the orchestra costs would be here.

To my untrained eye, the balance seems off in a lot of areas.  A company with such a thriving outreach program clearly has the resources to raise money for the dancers' well being, too. 

Luckily, I am not responsible for interpreting all of this data!  I think AGMA will take a close look at all of these numbers if the dancers vote yes.  Re-balancing priorities so that dancers are getting fair compensation, benefits, and protections should not hurt the company in the long run, and I am confident that the outreach programs will continue to thrive, too.   

The unionization is going to shake up the status quo at NBT, and change is never easy, but this kind of change can be very healthy for everyone.  Let's hope that, after the vote, the management recognizes the opportunity they have to build a stronger organization.

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Today is the vote by the dancers. Have not heard any news yet. Wondering if all the anti-union campaigning by the board members has had any effect. 

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Dd told me shortly after I posted. :) 

And now to see the board’s response. I certainly hope they accept this and there are no negative consequences for the dancers! 

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Curious as to the process following the vote. How quickly will the transition occur? Will this affect contract offers? Had letters of intent been sent out? I'm sure there's a lot of "wait and see." 

Hopefully working conditions will improve quickly. 

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I don't know any specifics about what comes next.  I wish I did. The dancers have been really busy, and I have only received short text messages about the vote.

I will be following the contract negotiations, to be sure, and I hope they do not take forever.

The union-busting tactics do not appear to have changed anyone's mind.  I think the management assumed that the dancers were solely motivated by self interest.  What they seem to have missed is the fact that most of the NBT dancers were and are invested in the long-term health and success of the company.  If management can set aside their defensiveness and see what a great group of dancers-citizens they have, many positive things could happen at NBT in the next few years.

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  • 8 months later...

I thought I would offer a quick update on NBT and its unionization.  Contract negotiations were stalled because of the pandemic, and the company management has done almost nothing for the dancers since.  It has offered no contracts, no access to the studio (even though the academy is using the studio), no dancer relief fund, and no solid or even tentative information about the 20-21 year.  The company dancers are keeping the social media afloat mostly on their own.  The company dancers and AGMA had to set up their own relief fund through GoFundMe.  AGMA has tried to put pressure on management, but there isn't a lot of leverage right now.  Please send some good thoughts to the NBT dancers!

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I am very sorry to hear this. I feel bad for the dancers. I really hope the company steps up and does something to help them at least get back into the studio to dance again. My DD works for an AGMA company and they have been very supportive and helpful for the dancers during Covid since the very beginning. Thanks for the update. I have been wondering how it was going for them.

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Oh my goodness, MLN! I'm so sorry to hear all that! This is a stressful time for all professional dancers, and it sounds like Nevada dancers have it 10x worse right now 😥

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