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Joffrey ends lockout; contract settlement appears near

Updated: July 15, 2011 2:10PM

The Joffrey Ballet and its dancers appear close to ratifying a contract that will enable the company’s fall season to go forward as planned.

Less than two weeks ago, the company sent a letter to its dancers threatening to cancel future engagements, and telling them they had to clean out their lockers at the Joffrey Tower by July 14, unless issues of salary and rehearsal hours were hammered out.

Now, according to the Joffrey’s executive director, Christopher Clinton Conway, the lockout of the dancers has been lifted, and with a simple majority vote by the dancers, which can happen as early as Friday, a formal agreement that assures a minimum 10 percent raise over a five-year contract (with the salary increase front-loaded into the first four years) could be ratified.

“If all goes as hoped, the dancers will be back in class on Monday and rehearsals will begin, as planned, on July 25,” Conway said. “And what’s great is that we have a five-year settlement rather than our usual three-year one.”

The dancers, whose average salary is about $40,000, have one-year contracts.

The agreement must be approved by the American Guild of Musical Artists, the union representing the 42 dancers and two stage managers of the company. Attempts to reach the union were unsuccessful.

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