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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 8:45 am 
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salzberg wrote:
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Is anyone following the NYC transit workers' strike


Unfortunately, yes; I was stuck in it today.


LOL Jeffrey, having lived in NYC for a long period of time I feel for you all. I was watching the today show this morning and they showed some pretty chilly scenes of people walking accross the Brooklyn Bridge. Makes me happy I live in the Florida Keys these days, :D


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 9:04 pm 
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Click HERE for a very disturbing article about management at Washington Ballet. I had no idea that the AD of Washington Ballet had attempted to ‘not re-engage’ the two dancers who organized their fellow slaves to join the union. I’m sure it was all just a coincidence! :wink: What a shame that the capital of the U.S.A. cannot afford to support a ballet company. Shame… Shame… Shame… :(

Quote:
“So it’s not enough that Septime Webre, artistic director of the Washington Ballet, created working conditions that left the Ballet's 20 artists with no choice but to unionize to protect their basic rights as employees, principally from overwork that could lead to (potentially career-ending) injury. It’s not enough that Webre initially attempted to fire -- excuse me, not re-engage -- the two artists who had successfully organized their colleagues to join the American Guild of Musical Artists. (One was rehired and later quit; the Ballet settled with the second right before her complaint was to go to trial before the National Labor Relations Board.)”

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 11:38 am 
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More bad news. It appears more and more that if the issue is not resolved Washington Ballet will ultimately go under. What board member wants to donate to a company, which mistreats its dancers?

Quote:
Drone says the Washington Ballet is at a similar crossroads. "Some board members have to make a decision: Are they going to stand by and watch the company be destroyed by this or are they going to intervene and save the company and go forward?"
George Washington University labor law professor Charles Craver says the collective bargaining process is essentially a power struggle: "Most employers in this country do not like sharing power. And this is a business of people who are not used to being told anything by the people who work for them." An employer can easily drag out the process, "patiently going through the motions until [the union] is gone." Nothing in the National Labor Relations Act says the parties have to reach an agreement, Craver said. If bargaining continues to drag on without a resolution, the union may have to "cave in and accept the terms."

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 12:05 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I'm getting mixed messages about the financial implications of this lock out/strike. We are told the income for the company is around $7m and that around half is from "The Nutcracker". However, refunds mentioned are around $0.8m, with a compensating wage reduction of around $0.2m. I can only surmise that there is a chunk of money for tickets that had not been purchased when the plug was pulled by management.

I can't think of any business that could survive in anything like its existing form when revenue falls 50%. In my days as a banker, I had a company go bust when they only achieved 70% of forecast revenue.

Given the inability of management and Unions to solve this problem at a crucial time for the company, I see no reason to be confident that they will resolve it in January when the pressure is off.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 9:22 am 
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Michael I do agree that it is a real shame that the capital city of the USA does not, at this time, look like it has a viable ballet company. As I said previously the Washington Ballet was, prior to this debacle, beginning to look like a national company in terms of the quality of dancers and the quality and variety of dance offered.
I continue to hope that egos will be set aside to help this company come to terms with the demands of being a "national" company.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 9:30 am 
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I'm not sure it's ego -- at least not all the way around.

Professional dancers (and professional transit workers, for that matter) have the right to safe, equitable employment. Obviously, the dancers in Washington feel that they're not getting that.

London has the Royal Ballet. Paris has the POB.

It's sad that DC doesn't have a world-class company...and pathetic that it doesn't have at least a national-class company.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 11:16 am 
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Michael Goldbarth wrote:
Click HERE for a very disturbing article about management at Washington Ballet. I had no idea that the AD of Washington Ballet had attempted to ‘not re-engage’ the two dancers who organized their fellow slaves to join the union. I’m sure it was all just a coincidence! :wink: What a shame that the capital of the U.S.A. cannot afford to support a ballet company. Shame… Shame… Shame… :(


It is truly a shame about this situation, however, I encourage everyone who is reading and following the situation not to lean towards any one side on this for the mere fact that none of us know all of what is going on, only what is being reported. Michael, you have quoted an article from a dance tabloid and as interesting as it is, it is VERY one sided. I have a little experience with this particular publication because of the fact that this very same tabloid last year made accusations about myself and a few of my collegues breaking a strike because that was AGMA's initial stance on the situation, nothing could have been farther from the truth. As time went on the truth eventually came out and when all was said and done a few months later AGMA actually wrote apology letters to some of the dancers involved with that situation about the public scrutiny. Letters aside, the public perception of what people read and believe is irreversable. Not like I or my collegues ever lost any sleep over it but people do actually tend to believe what they read. I am not saying that the company management of Washington Ballet is not partially to blame in this situation, and that goes for AGMA too. What I am saying is don't take sides in a labor dispute without knowing all the facts and issues, regardless of what some tabloid publishes :roll: . Labor conflicts can be extremely complex and the only side all of us should be taking on this is that the Washington Ballet goes back to work ASAP so we don't loose another American dance company.

By the way, you couldn't find a quote from the mightiest tabloid of them all, the New York Post? There is definitely some page 6 material going on here :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 1:24 pm 
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Michael Goldbarth wrote:
Click HERE for a very disturbing article about management at Washington Ballet.


Just FYI, this same rag and author also published this unfortunately misinformed, slanted, and untrue story:

Quote:
Speaking of personnel matters, the dance gossip site "Criticaldance.com" has been getting its jollies lately by forwarding a gossip item from the July 1 Miami New Times insinuating that the reason dance critic Octavio Roca no longer works for its competitor, the Miami Herald, is that he "apparent"ly committed "plagiarism."

more


There's a thread around here which documents CD's efforts to straighten this out, but I guess the guy hasn't yet figured out how to use the reply button in his email program.

--Andre


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 2:02 pm 
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I found that interesting, considering the degree to which we discourage gossip here on CD.

Perhaps someone was confused as to the difference between discussion (which we encourage) and gossip, which we prohibit?

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:42 pm 
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Quote:

There's a thread around here which documents CD's efforts to straighten this out, but I guess the guy hasn't yet figured out how to use the reply button in his email program.

--Andre


lol andre, I also wrote to that very same author trying to give him my side of a story he was writing negatively about and no reply either. Some people don't want to write about facts, just opinions. Aaahhh one sided journalism :?


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2005 8:45 am 
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Dear Osiris661:

Yes, I too noticed the article was kind of biased. I thought perhaps the writer let his passion get the best of him. Hopefully everything will work out but it appears bleak.

Obviously, Dance Insider was totally wrong about their slant on Octavio Roca. Let’s hope an angel works a miracle for Washington Ballet on Christmas Day. Canceling your Nutcracker is just plain stupid.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2005 1:25 pm 
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Ethics in journalism has taken a turn for the worse what with the advent of this medium -- the internet -- which allows any hack to say whatever they want and pass it off as journalism. That's why at CD, from Day One, we agreed to make this site (and the organization that has sprung around it) accountable to a community -- no one person runs this site as it's run by many people, with checks and balances.

And because journalists can't be trusted to provide a fair balance, I usually recommend a "privileged investigation" any time something happens: this allows the investigating team to dig into as much as they need to without sharing any information with the press until the investigation is over. In the US, any journalist reporting privileged research prematurely breaks the law. Anyone sharing the privileged information with the press also breaks the law! If a press asks for a quote, tell them the information is subject to a privileged investigation. If they tell you, that it's a free country and accuse you of hiding facts, respond by telling them they're breaking the law. However, at the end of the investigation, you must share all facts and findings with the press and the public.

How does this help? Let's say it's discovered someone emailed something negative to someone else. If the press (or management or employees) gets their hands on it, it gets blown out of proportion and the emailer is seen as the guilty party. However, if the information is privileged, you can hold off the media until you get to the bottom of it, in which time you may find out that this email was a response to something nasty that happened over the phone and that it was intended to clarify the situation and in light of the new evidence, the emailer was actually a saint in trying to calm things down. Voila. You avoid the wrong conclusion!


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2005 8:24 am 
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There is no Santa Claus for Washington Ballet. Click HERE for plans to cancel more shows for the 2006 season. It appears management and the board want to break the union and go with an entire new cast of dancers. I don’t see how the dancers can go back to work after what has happened. The relationship has been poisoned. If their intent is to break the union, what dancer would want to dance for Washington Ballet? Answer: Someone desperate for a job with no self-esteem.

In the end, Artistic Director Septime Webre and Executive Director Jason Palmquist will be unemployable should Washington Ballet go under. What board would want to donate to a company that would employ anyone associated with bankrupting ballet in a city? What citizen would want to vote for a political party that would allow its ballet company to go under in its capital? Bottom-line: Most folks in the U.S.A. don’t care about the arts or ballet. Go Redskins Go! Most Americans are football crazy and love baseball. There’s nothing wrong with being a fan of either sport but why should the arts suffer because of it? Sports teams get huge tax breaks from many cities. Anyone know if ballet companies are extended the same courtesies from government?

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2005 8:45 am 
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Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Quote:
There isWhat board would want to donate to a company that would employ anyone associated with bankrupting ballet in a city?


I believe that, prior to his becoming Artistic Director of Houston Ballet, Ben Stevenson served in similar capacities with the Chicago, Harkness, and National Ballets, all of which went out of business.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2005 8:52 am 
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I admit to being caught up in my little world for the National Ballet of Canada. I had no idea Ben Stevenson was AD for all those companies. Was he responsible for them going under? For example: Did he try to break the union or did he cause the dancers to revolt? I think there is a difference between a company going under because there just wasn’t enough interest in ballet and because of something the AD did to bring that about.

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