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Week Five: Met AGMA Negotiating Committee Update

Published March 8, 2021   |  By Musical Artists  |  Post in All Areas

"Grappling with the one-year mark of the pandemic's effect on our lives and our industry is such an overwhelming thing to do. And still, we have hope in our hearts and faith in science that we will soon return to the jobs we love, though we know it won't be easy. We are dedicated to being as transparent as possible during these ongoing experiences. We know our fight for what’s right will stretch much further than the Met.


Today we enter our fifth week of bargaining with the Met. Last week, we engaged in cost evaluation to understand the true effects of proposed cuts, assessing potential opportunities to improve the Met’s financial stability. We made more progress on proposals including equalizing Pension Fund payments among the chorus and creating fair Sunday work rules for the extra chorus.

What’s Happening This Week:

  • Responding to the Met’s proposals 
    • Updating and streamlining grievance procedures
    • Promoting fair standards of conduct
  • Distribution of Artists Contracts
  • Discussing cost-saving solutions that minimize Artist sacrifices

So far, throughout our bargaining period, we have devoted days to the specific concerns of Stage Directors, Dancers, and Choristers. This week, we focus on the needs of Soloists.

As Met Soloist and AGMA Board member Katharine Goeldner said, “Soloists require a path toward increased security and benefits; the financial risk we take on is unsustainable. Artists are the face of the Met; it’s time to treat us that way.”

With that in mind, the Soloists’ focus will include: 

  • Restructuring contracts with more up-front pay to mitigate risk
  • Reclassifying rehearsal pay to make it more cost effective
  • Enhancing break privileges
  • Instituting bereavement leave for Soloists

This time last year, we were unaware of how much our lives would change in just a few days' time. It's overwhelming to reflect on not just how much has changed - but how rapidly our lives were impacted. Now, grappling with the one-year mark of the pandemic's effect on our lives and our industry is such an overwhelming thing to do. And still, we have hope in our hearts and faith in science that we will soon return to the jobs we love, though we know it won't be easy. We are dedicated to being as transparent as possible during these ongoing experiences. We know our fight for what’s right will stretch much further than the Met. We are the Artists fighting for a better Met, and a better, stronger, safer, and just industry. Please stay positive and healthy!

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 sends out weekly updates on bargaining to Met Artists via email (we encourage you to forward these emails 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