For Immediate Release
April 7, 2020
The Musicians of the National Symphony Orchestra are pleased that a settlement has been reached to resolve the grievance filed by our union challenging the Kennedy Center’s decision to furlough musicians beginning this week. That action was not permitted under our collective bargaining agreement and, under the settlement, musicians will not be furloughed. In recognition of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Kennedy Center, however, we have agreed to modify our collective bargaining agreement to make substantial economic concessions. Our agreement also will be extended for an additional year, through the beginning of September 2024. This will provide financial stability to our musicians during this difficult time.
We are grateful to have a collective bargaining agreement and a union—the D.C. Federation of Musicians, AFM Local 161-710—to protect us. Not all Kennedy Center staff are so fortunate. We urge the Kennedy Center to bring back the Orchestra’s staff as a matter of fairness and so that our venture can flourish. We need their talents to help start new musical projects to present to our patrons and the larger world. The musicians of the National Symphony are pledging at least $50,000 of our own money over the next 10 weeks to help support our NSO staff colleagues. While it is not enough to make them whole, we hope that it helps materially as well as demonstrating our respect and admiration for them.
Throughout this process, the NSO musicians, as always, have been willing to work with management to try to find creative solutions to difficult problems.