The American Guild of Musical Artists is the labor union of the finest singers, dancers, and staging staff in opera, choral performance, and concert dance in the United States. This page is designed to help you learn more about unionizing and how to make your company an AGMA company. Joining together in union gives people more power to shape their workplaces and their industries.
Why become an AGMA company?
- Forming a union with AGMA creates a collective voice, power, and protection for you and your fellow Artists.
- As union workers, AGMA Artists have the right to bargain over the terms and conditions of their employment, including wages, benefits, health and safety, and more, as well as the right to request and receive information from employers, including financial information.
- As union workers, Artists have the backing of AGMA and its professional staff in enforcing their contractual guarantees and their legal rights.
- As union workers, AGMA Artists have the backing of their union and professional staff in reporting incidents of harassment or discrimination.
- When you form a union with AGMA you join the approximately 7,000 other Artists in over 65 opera, dance, and choral companies who have come together to improve their lives and the lives of future Artists and to ensure the ongoing viability of careers in the Arts.
Why is organizing more important now than ever?
- As rehearsals, performances, and entire seasons are canceled due to COVID-19, AGMA Artists are able to bargain collectively with their employers to maintain health coverage, payments, job security, and other contractual provisions.
- As opera, dance, and choral companies begin to consider returning to work, AGMA Artists are able to bargain collectively over health and safety protocols for returning to work, guided by AGMA’s expert medical panel and the AGMA/SDC Return to Stage and Performing Arts Playbook.
- AGMA Artists have access to critical benefits and discounts, such the AGMA Relief Fund for financial emergency assistance, Union Plus for discounted products and services (including a free associate’s degree program), and The Actors Fund for a variety of programs, including mental health resources, financial assistance, daily workshops and webinars, and scholarships and grants.
What does the process look like?
- Step One: Talk to Us! Fill Out the Organize! Contact Form
If you are interested in organizing in union with your fellow artists, or would just like to know more, the first step is to connect with us through this simple form found at the bottom of the page. An AGMA Staff Organizer will follow up for a confidential conversation in which we can answer any questions, connect you with current AGMA Artists, and get you ready for an organizing campaign. We will work with you on all the next steps that are outlined below as well!
- Step Two: Form an Organizing Committee
An important next step in an organizing campaign is to build a diverse and representative committee of your fellow Artists who are ready to organize and will be the leaders of the campaign. We will work with you every step of the way to provide education and strategy to build a strong union.
- Step Three: Talk to Your Coworkers and Build Support
AGMA is a democratic, member-run organization—you, your coworkers, and the other artist members of AGMA are the union—and the decision to form your union with AGMA is made by you, the artists, not company leadership or management. Your AGMA Staff organizer will work with the organizing committee to reach out to each of your coworkers to ensure that they are educated and empowered to move forward.
- Step Four: Recognition
Once we have a strong majority of your coworkers that support the union, we will be able to go public with the campaign and present your demand for union recognition to management.
- Step Five: Get a Contract
Once you are a legally recognized union, we can get to the bargaining table to negotiate your first union contract—an artist-driven process known as “collective bargaining”.
I’d like more information, who do I contact?
Fill out this simple form (from Step One), click “submit”, and someone from the AGMA staff will be in touch with you soon.