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Rockettes kicked out amid bitter union talks

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The world famous Rockettes were kicked out of Radio City Music Hall during rehearsal for the Christmas Spectacular last night in an apparent lockout by management - but their employers later said they'd reached a deal with the dancers.

"We have reached a collective-bargaining agreement subject to a membership vote," Radio City spokeswoman Mikyl Cordova told The Post.

It remained unclear, however, whether the deal would be approved by the dancers.

"As a representative of the New York Rockettes, we have not come to an agreement," union member Lora Anderson said when told about the tentative deal.

Radio City owner Cablevision said in a statement that the earlier situation - which featured the rare spectacle of the Rockettes in street clothes standing outside their locked stage door - as a mere impasse during tough negotiations.

But the union - the American Guild of Variety Artists - insists the dancers had been locked out for a few hours, with the main issue being maternity leave.

"Negotiations were going fairly well when the maternity-leave issue came up," said union lawyer Ira Cure.

"The company tried to buy time by locking the Rockettes out."

The dancers said the show's producers stopped rehearsal and told them they would have to leave if they did not agree to the contract right then and there. When they said no, they were escorted out of the building, they said.

"This is all very overwhelming," said dancer Danielle McColeman, as she joined her fellow dancers on the street. "We just want to dance."

Cablevision said only a few dancers were balking at the three-year contract, which calls for a 20 percent raise.

Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

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