Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 6:30pm outside of Lincoln Center
The musicians of the New York City Ballet Orchestra, represented by the NYC musicians’ union (AFM Local 802), announce a rally for a fair contract outside of Lincoln Center on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 6:30pm to coincide with the opening night of the ballet’s 2023 season.
The rally will include live music as well as elected officials and speakers from other unions.
The musicians’ contract with the ballet has expired and negotiations for a new agreement are ongoing. Sticking points include management’s failure to agree to a wage adjustment that would compensate the musicians for going without pay for 15 months, taking a 15% pay cut in 2021, and currently working for 9% below their 2019 compensation. Management also is insisting on significant healthcare concessions even though ballet ticket sales have exceeded pre-pandemic levels, ballet fundraising is robust, and the ballet’s endowment is extremely healthy.
In early September, musicians overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike, which would allow the orchestra to strike if contract talks break down.
Musicians have set up a petition to demand a fair contract; to date, almost 3,200 supporters have signed.
Bassoonist Ethan Silverman, who chairs the musicians’ negotiating committee, said: “The reputation of the New York City Ballet exists thanks to the hard work of all of the creative artists, both on stage and off, including the dancers, the musicians and the stagehands. When our audiences come to the ballet, they expect that the creative workers who make the magic happen will be treated fairly. But since ballet management is not offering us a fair contract, despite months of bargaining, we have to take our message to the public. We hope that our supporters will join us on Sept. 19 at 6:30pm outside of Lincoln Center.”