NYC Ballet Orchestra Supports Metropolitan Opera Food Service Workers

Volume XCIX, No. 11December, 1999

Members of the New York City Ballet Orchestra recently added their voices to the chorus demanding that Restaurant Associates respect the right of its employees – who work as bartenders, buspersons, cashiers, cooks, dishwashers and waiters at the Metropolitan Opera, for poverty-level wages and no benefits – to join a union. Following is the text of a letter they sent to Nick Valenti, the company’s president and CEO, on Oct. 25:

“Dear Mr. Valenti:

“The musicians of the New York City Ballet Orchestra urge your cooperation in the efforts of your employees at the Metropolitan Opera House to join their union. As union members ourselves, we support the right of all workers to organize in order to improve their working conditions. There is no reason that employees at the Met should not enjoy the same privileges as those at Avery Fisher Hall and the New York State Theatre, and there is certainly no reason that they should be denied the opportunity to improve their low wages, lack of job security, and lack of basic benefits such as health insurance.

“You owe your employees the right to better their working conditions, and we appeal to you to stop your opposition to their efforts, and to join with all the rest of us in making Lincoln Center a civilized and humane place to work.”