Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't AGMA work to come up with an interim agreement long before the situation came to a head?
Yes they did and they put the deadline for it at December 15th 2005, right before Nutcracker was to open, thus using Nutcracker as a bargaining chip, hence my criticism of how they went about trying to get an interim agreement signed and entered into. Just goto AGMA's website and read the timeline, they all said if the proposed interim agreement was not signed by December 15th they would not perform in the Nutcracker. That whole idea of using Nutcracker as a bargaining chip in the negotiations is crazy and has and will continue through the coming months come back to haunt the entire organization.
And also didn't AGMA agree to mediation after the strike/lockout/whatever, an offer which the Washington Ballet turned down?
Now maybe I am wrong here but I think AGMA agreed to mediation with only one person and that was Michael Kaiser who is not a federal mediator. Actually, the more I think about it there may be more to this particular part of the story than we realize, time will tell though.
Sounds like AGMA has been the more flexible and willing to work...
I don't know about anyone else in here but I feel this is not so much about which side is more flexible than the other. This whole situation should have been about achieving improvements and working conditions for artists while still maintaining the integrity and livelyhoods of both the Washington Ballet as well as AGMA and the members they represent. BOTH sides failed in achieving that.
Not that I'm particularly pro-union (in my field there aren't many unionized jobs),
As a dancer in the united states I am EXTREMELY PRO UNION especially within the entire entertainment industry. However, there is a right way to approach things and a wrong way and in my opinion this whole situation was approached in the wrong way from the union side.
but I think dancers are in a profession where they can be easily used and abused, so having a strong union is important.
You are absolutely 100% correct, having a strong and effective union is important. I guess it all depends on what your definition of a "Strong and Effective" union is.