Washington lays off its orchestra without pay or health caremain
Musicians in the National Symphony Orchestra will stop being paid from April 3.
They heard by email that Kennedy Centrer president Deborah Rutter ‘informed us today that the last paycheck for all musicians and librarians will be April 3 and that we will not be paid again until the Center reopens.’
The news came hours after President Trump authorised a $25 million bailout for the Kennedy Center.
UPDATE: We hear the players’ health insurance will end on May 31…. in the thick of an epidemic.
Ms Rutter has told the Washington Post that she’s taking no pay. She has not communicated with the musicians.
The American Federation of Musicians has issued this statement:
…on the same day that President Trump signed into law a stimulus package that specifically appropriated $25 million to the Kennedy Center to be used for operating expenses including employee compensation, Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter abruptly advised the musicians of the National Symphony Orchestra that they will not be paid after next week.
This decision, from an organization with an endowment of nearly $100 million, is not only outrageous – coming after the musicians had expressed their willingness to discuss ways to accommodate the Kennedy Center during this challenging time – it is also blatantly illegal under the parties’ collective bargaining agreement. That agreement specifically requires that the Center provide six weeks’ notice before it can stop paying musicians for economic reasons.
The Metropolitan Washington D.C. Federation of Musicians, which represents the National Symphony Orchestra musicians, has filed a grievance challenging the Kennedy Center’s illegal action.