Oregon Ballet Theatre (OBT) on Sept. 19 officially recognized American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) as the representative of 30 dancers and stage managers after a majority of them signed cards authorizing the union to represent them.
AGMA, an affiliate of the, AFL-CIO, represents about 7,500 opera singers, ballet and modern dancers, and production personnel at most major ballet companies and several modern dance companies across the country.
Oregon Ballet Theatre (OBT) is the largest professional ballet company in Oregon, employing nearly 200 people and attracting artists from around the globe.
The new bargaining unit consists of 28 dancers and two stage managers.
OBT is the third ballet company this year where employees have unionized with AGMA. In March, employees of Sarasota Ballet in Florida voted to join AGMA. And in April, employees of Sacramento Ballet voted 23-1 in favor of unionization.
OBT Board Chair Nancy Locke said in a press statement that OBT views the dancers’ and stage managers’ selection of AGMA to represent them as a positive. “The Ballet is proud of the long, positive working relationship that it has had with the dancers and stage managers,” Locke said. “That relationship was built on mutual respect and trust, and having the dancers and staging staff represented by AGMA will strength-en that relationship.”
Negotiations for a first contract are expected to begin this month.