AGMA Statement Regarding the Met’s Proposed Cuts

Published November 23, 2020   |  By Musical Artists  |  Post in All Areas

Dear AGMA Artists:

You may have seen Friday’s article in The New York Times about the Met’s proposed cuts prompted by Mr. Gelb’s remarks to the Company. AGMA was quoted in the article and we wish to expand more on our thoughts and position.

AGMA represents the choristers, dancers, soloist singers, stage managers, stage directors, and actors at the Met. Without all of these talented Artists and staging staff professionals, the Met would simply not exist, and no performances would be possible.

The Met’s position, that this essential group of Artists agrees to substantial pay cuts, not just during the COVID-19 crisis but long after the return to normal box office revenue, is out of step with the rest of the Opera and Dance world. Since March, AGMA has worked collaboratively with over 60 other opera, dance, and choral companies addressing pay, benefits, and safety issues. In all these negotiations, AGMA recognized the need for, and agreed to, reasonable modifications in pay, benefits, and work rules to help our industries survive during this pandemic.

Throughout this crisis, Met management has talked at length about the challenges facing the Met while barely speaking a word about the challenges facing its Artists. No one understands the effects of the pandemic more than our members who have been without pay since their livelihoods were shuttered.

The Met is attempting to use this crisis to force substantial pay cuts, work rule changes, and benefit reductions, indefinitely into the future. Additionally, AGMA has heard from many members about how the Met has still not paid out accrued vacation pay from the 2019-2020 season, vacation pay that was already earned when the Met shut down. How can we accept the Met’s proposition for limited pay this season in exchange for long term cuts when they still haven't been paid everything they are owed for last year?

We can’t. We won’t. 

AGMA remains open to working with Met management but our members, who have built the Met over generations, have no interest in selling out the future for short-term relief.