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Week Seven: Met AGMA Negotiating Committee Update

Published March 22, 2021   |  By Musical Artists  |  Post in All Areas

It has been one year since the 2019-20 season was canceled at the Metropolitan Opera. If you follow all of our artist-run accounts, you will see that we felt it was important to mark this tough anniversary this past Friday. We are still here, waiting for it to be deemed safe for us to return to the house we love and the art form to which we have dedicated our lives.

While we look forward to the light at the end of the tunnel, we must also look back and remember the members of the Met Opera Family we have lost to COVID-19. We remember Antoine Hodge, Extra Chorister; Vincent Lionti, Violist; Elijah Moshinsky, Stage Director; and Joel Revzen, Assistant Conductor as we move forward toward reopening. Our collective grief for these amazing souls motivates us to do right by them.

Last week, we focused on Stage Managers and Staff Performers, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. You can read last week’s statement on this here. There is a lot of work to do on this front; our seventh week of bargaining with the Met will continue to center around this important topic: 

  • Increasing access to the Met for traditionally underrepresented groups
  • Prohibiting casting decisions based on body type or fit of costumes
  • Promoting a confidential process to report racism and discrimination
  • Establishing a standing committee of BIPOC Artists to meet regularly with the administration 

We will also focus our energy on:

  • Constructing a holistic break structure that is equitable, efficient, and effective
  • Addressing concerns raised during the 2019-20 production of Porgy and Bess
  • Continuing to progress on cost-saving initiatives that do not sacrifice Artists’ livelihoods

Met Stage Manager Scott Moon said, “For years the Artists of the Met have been asked to do more with less. We owe it to our audience not to let short-sighted cuts erode our artistic values.” We’ve been overlooked and undervalued by our government and even by the leaders of our industry.

We’ve seen the depths of our country's and industry’s prejudice. Any restoration in what was once sadly accepted as “normal,” without any growth, is unacceptable in a post-pandemic world. We very well might have a once-in-a-generation chance to create a better industry. And so, we push on, committed to not returning to the same environment we left before the pandemic.  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