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Entering Week 2: Met AGMA Negotiating Committee Update

Published February 15, 2021   |  By Musical Artists  |  Post in All Areas

Dear AGMA Artists:

We hope this message finds you all safe, healthy, and well.

Last Monday we kicked off negotiations with the Met and delivered our proposals to management. Presentations were given by ALL 35 members of the Committee and each group and its function was introduced. The presentations were poised, professional, but at the same time, heartfelt and emotional. Hearing from each committee member was an experience like no other. We have all been through so much this past year and it culminated in these touching presentations.

On the second day of bargaining, the Met delivered their proposals to us. We have many questions and concerns and are waiting on more clarification before we can even consider responding. However, our first analysis indicated a number of unacceptable proposals that would make working at the Met both untenable financially and unsafe. We will report back as we receive more information.

Tomorrow, we enter week two of bargaining. We will discuss our AGMA-wide proposals with management in greater depth, including:

  • Seats on the Met Board of Directors
  • Extending AGMA protections to all Met productions, not only in the opera house but in outside venues and digital captures
  • Updating our media agreement to reflect current practice, especially in regard to online streaming
  • Ensuring pension and retirement credit benefits
  • Modifying religious holiday observance to include Easter & Ramadan Eid

Throughout our bargaining period, we will have days devoted to different work groups at the Met. This week, we focus on the specific concerns of Stage Directors, working on our director’s proposals, including:

  • Proper compensation for additional use of directors in Future Planning & co-production shepherding
  • Work rules changes to ensure a day off each week
  • Fair credit for directing HD productions
  • A more equitable payment structure for the department

As the famous line goes: there are miles to go before we sleep; with one week down and at least seven more to go to try and negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), we must stay positive and headstrong, and not lose our momentum. As Met Stage Director/Choreographer Sara Erde said, "Whether as members of the Board of Directors or advisors on future planning, our Artists are a critical resource and must be empowered for the Met to thrive."

We wish to thank all of you for the outpouring of support we received after announcing we had entered into early negotiations with the Met. Every email, text, and social media like and share means the world to us and motivates us to keep pushing. We are the Artists for a Better Met, which could mean betterment throughout the entire opera industry, and we are doing this for ALL AGMA Artists.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Ned Hanlon, Negotiating Committee Chair, at ehanlo@gmail.com, Eastern Counsel Sam Wheeler, swheeler@musicalartists.org, or any of your delegates and committee members.

Stay Connected!

Our Negotiating Committee Communications Team will send out weekly updates on bargaining to Met Artists via email (we encourage you to forward these emails on to friends!) and through social media. To avoid email fatigue, all other AGMA membership will receive less-frequent updates than that but are encouraged to follow our Met AGMA groups on social media: @MetOperaChorus @MetOperaSupers @MetOperaBallet. These accounts are run by AGMA Artists!

In solidarity,

Your Met AGMA Negotiating Committee:

Ned Hanlon, Committee Chair; Ross Benoliel, Chorister; Richard Bernstein, Soloist; Shay Bland, Dancer; Helena Brown, Extra Chorister; Antuan Byers, Dancer; Stephanie Chigas, Chorister; Florencio Cora, Staff Performer; Lianne Coble-Dispensa, Chorister; Jōvan Dansberry, Dancer; Karen Dixon, Chorister; Anne Dyas, Staff Performer; Tobin Eason, Dancer; Ashley Emerson, Soloist; Kenneth Floyd, Chorister; Theresa Ganley, Stage Manager; Katharine Goeldner, Soloist; David Gonsier, Dancer; Katherine Hozier, Dancer; Mary Hughes, Chorister; Nathaniel Hunt, Dancer; Matthew Kernisky, Staff Performer; Jarrod Lee, Extra Chorister; Shawna Lucey, Stage Director; Megan Marino Mayes, Soloist; Brandon Mayberry, Chorister; Scott Moon, Stage Manager; Maria Phegan, Dancer; Daniel Rigazzi, Stage Director; Mark Schowalter, Soloist; Elizabeth Sciblo, Soloist Delegate; Bradley Schelver, Dancer; Marcus Shields, Stage Director; Daniel Smith, Chorister; Andrew Stenson, Soloist; Sarah Weber-Gallo, Dancer