After raking in $25 million in extra money attached to Congress’ coronavirus aid bill and then saying they were furloughing their musicians, the taxpayer-funded Kennedy Center is now backing off the lay-off plans. Instead, they’ll simply cut musicians’ paychecks by more than a third.
Oh, and they’re still getting the $25 million. Did I mention that?
According to the New York Times, the Kennedy Center struck a deal with the National Symphony Orchestra musicians’ union, agreeing to keep the players on their payroll, but at a much smaller salary. The Center had previously announced that the musicians would not be getting a paycheck after April 3, a move the union said violated the previously stipulated terms of their collective bargaining agreement. Now, the symphony’s 96 musicians and two librarians will instead get a 35 percent pay cut until September. The report adds the union also agreed to a wage freeze for the 2020-21 season and delayed raises for the remainder of the musicians’ contract.
The musicians, on the other hand, have said it a statement that they plan to donate some $50,000 from their collective salaries to help other non-unionized Kennedy Center employees who’ve been furloughed.
The Center, which has said it will run out of money by July even with the additional $25 million from Congress, has already furloughed hundreds of employees including concessions, parking and retail staff, the NTY reports.