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Met AGMA Negotiating Committee Update

Published April 26, 2021   |  By Musical Artists  |  Post in All Areas

This week, our last currently on the books, we are focusing on safety.

As Met Chorister Daniel Clark Smith has said, "Safety doesn't just apply to the stage. We are striving to make the Met a safe workplace across the board, free of racism, harassment, and retaliation."

The industry needs to expand its meaning of “safety” in the workplace. Safety isn’t just about avoiding injury on the stage or behind the scenes. True safety is about ensuring the physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing of Artists. Artists deserve to have holistic safeguards in place to protect their body, mind, and heart.

On that note, in addition to a discussion surrounding reasonable compensation to Artists for use of free live streams, the Met AGMA Negotiating Committee is happy to report substantial progress on a number of our proposals including: 

  • Sunday work rule protections for Stage Directors
  • First consideration for Staff Performers
  • Bereavement leave for Soloists
  • Protections against the replacement of Dancers in a production

 These protections we secured and the progress we have made with our DEI initiatives will further protect Artists at the Met and beyond.

This week is the last scheduled week of bargaining. There is more work to do, and we are committed to continuing fighting for you. We will keep you updated as soon as we know more. As we reflect on the last few months, it seems like time either flew by in a blur or dripped by as slow as molasses, making it quite the whirlwind experience. This has been a life-changing moment, on top of a number of other life-changing events that 2020 handed us.

Supported by our fantastic legal and staff team, the Met AGMA Negotiating Committee represents a diverse cross section of the AGMA membership. This committee has put in countless hours of bargaining alone—we estimate more than 130 hours apiece in the last 11 weeks—and that doesn’t include the work that went into getting ready for these negotiations, which the committee has been preparing for since the summer of 2020.

We hope our fellow AGMA colleagues and friends have felt the exceptional commitment and solidarity throughout this process. We hope you continued to read these weekly updates. We never lost faith in one another, trust never wavered, and your messages to us kept us motivated. That is why we have made it this far and are still ready and prepared to keep going. These often difficult and contentious negotiations required our Committee and AGMA to speak as one collective voice to the Met. Each week we used this collective voice for ALL AGMA members.

We’ll be in touch again soon.

As Always

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 update everyone again once we know more. Please continue 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