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Week Eight: Met AGMA Negotiating Committee Update

Published March 29, 2021   |  By Musical Artists  |  Post in All Areas

We have officially entered our eighth week of bargaining with the Met. We entered this early-bargaining agreement clear-eyed that the Met has significant financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and we remain willing to work with the Met to help it survive this difficult time. Throughout all eight weeks, we never lost sight of the fact that the Artists are the Met, and without AGMA Artists, there is no Metropolitan Opera. It’s been a balancing act, a give and take, but we’ve continued to push the interests and needs of the Artists to the forefront of every conversation, ensuring that AGMA members who make their livelihood at the Met can continue to do so and that the Met as an institution can continue to attract and retain the best Artists in the world.

Last week, as you know, we presented our comprehensive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) proposals. Unfortunately, the Met was not fully ready to have a substantive conversation on DEI. As you can imagine, we were disappointed by this.

As Met Staff Performer Florencio Cora said, “The Met must confront its institutional racism and embrace diversity and inclusion. Let’s pursue that conversation. It will be difficult, but it will make us stronger.”

With that top of mind, we are happy to report that our DEI conversation has been rescheduled for this week and we look forward to hearing from the Met on this important topic.  We are extremely happy to report the substantial progress we have made on proposals, including usage of Staff Performers and Per Diem compensation for Soloists in some force majeure events!

This week we will be:

  • Rescheduling the meeting to continue to focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Discussing terms to continue bargaining beyond the initial 8-week period
  • Following-up proposals to improve the structure of Artists’ breaks

 Additionally, we will be focusing heavily on safety for Artists:

  • Sufficient stage time for all performers, including covers
  • Proper supervision for dancer rehearsals
  • Prompt notification for last-minute changes to lighting and effects
  • Protections for Artists who voice safety concerns
  • Conversation about air quality issues in the opera house

 Eight weeks ago, we began what can only be described as a journey into the unknown. It became evident quite early on that eight weeks was not enough time. As noted above, this week we will be discussing terms to continue bargaining beyond this initial 8-week period. As soon as we know more, we will update the entire AGMA membership. All this to say, you can expect to continue receiving weekly updates from the Met AGMA Negotiating Committee.

We thank all of you for your support during these first eight weeks. We appreciate each comment, “like,” post share, text message, virtual hug, phone call, and email. On the really hard days, we return to your messages to recharge our hearts. We are determined to make the Met better, to set off a ripple effect that will travel across our entire industry.

We will be back in touch soon. 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!

We encourage you 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