La Cieca has obtained a copy of the main part of the email sent to AGMA members by the organization’s national executive director Alan Gordon in the wake of yesterday’s abortive meeting with NYCO’s George Steel.
At the last meeting of the AGMA bargaining unit at NYCO, we advised you all of our basic legal position: That AGMA is not obligated to enter into negotiations with NYCO until the 2010 expiration of our contract. That remains our position. As you know, NYCO has a completely different legal position and, if we were to tell NYCO that we are simply not going to negotiate, we would quickly become involved in litigation as to which position is correct. While our lawyers and the Negotiating Committee may develop a recommendation for you, ultimately the members of the NYCO bargaining unit will determine which course of action we will pursue.
We also told you that, following the conclusion of the negotiations between NYCO and Local 802, we would probably meet with George Steel on an informal basis to listen to his arguments as to why we should consider making concessions to help NYCO achieve viability. While we all share a desire to consider concessions that would assure NYCO’s continued operation, any concessions we might consider should not be more than those accepted by the orchestra.
On Monday June 22 Bruce Simon, Candace Itow, Deborah Allton-Maher and I, along with the delegates, met with Steel and his attorneys. At that meeting, Steel gave us a formal set of proposals which, he said, “reflected the same agreement NYCO had reached with the orchestra”. In fact, however, his proposals to AGMA were far more destructive in effect than the ones he made to the orchestra and would, if accepted, decimate the AGMA bargaining unit.
Consequently, we told Steel that there was no point in continuing the meeting, that we would not ever consider negotiating from his proposals and that, in due course, we would get back to him.
According to a recipient of the email, the missive continued with details about NYCO’s proposals for revisions to the current contact with AGMA, including
a quarter of the chorus gone, all weekly soloists… fired, ten orchestra positions eliminated, all dancers and movement people fired, 4 weeks eliminated from the choristers pay, reduction in stage management staff, associate chorus completely eliminated, no health care for stage managers or [assistant directors], health care reduced for chorus and orchestra, no annual coverage of health care, only work weeks, overtime basically eliminated.
La Cieca is informed by her source that there will be another shop meeting to discuss options “shortly,” but that at this point “AGMA is not currently talking to Steel or NYCO.”