More Labor Strife in D.C

Article excerpt

The newly unionized dancers of The Washington Ballet have already hit a rocky road with company management. In March, Nikkia Parish and Brian Corman, two company dancers who testified before the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of unionization for the company, were fired. The dancers' union, the American Guild of Musical Artists, filed an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB, claiming that, in retaliation for the union vote, the company refused to renew the two dancers' contracts.

Jason Palmquist, the executive director of The Washington Ballet, says that the charges were unfounded, adding that the timing of these incidents were a coincidence. Citing "artistic reasons" for the dismissals, Palmquist says, "While the two dancers may be lovely in particular roles, they just weren't right for the makeup of the company." Both Parish and Corman were the only company members who held AGMA memberships before the vote.

According to AGMA executive director Alan Gordon, they were the only dancers to testify before the NLRB at the union's request, although six others were subpoenaed. "We have the opportunity to respond to the charge and the NLRB makes the determination to move forward to a hearing," says Palmquist. …