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Don't Work for MD Lyric Opera
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Message from Local 161-710

Dear Local 161-710 Members,

Maryland Lyric Opera is currently in the process of engaging local musicians to perform in a production of Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet this summer. Local 161-710 has received reports of this offer of engagement ($100 per 3 or possibly 4 hour services), paying far below our local wage scale ($47.50 per hour of rehearsal/$185 per performance). Despite our Local’s efforts to negotiate an agreement with MLO, they have refused our good faith efforts to reach a compromise which would offer fair and professional treatment of our local musicians. Due to these serious concerns, the Local 161-710 Executive Board urges our members not to accept this engagement.

A brief synopsis of the events to date:

·      February/March 2015 – The Local receives inquiries from members about their participation in the Maryland Lyric Opera production.

·      March/April 2015 – President Malaga contacts and meets with MLO management at the Local office to discuss wage scales.

·      April 17 – President Malaga receives response from MLO, including a significant overestimation of the orchestra budget.

·      April 22 – President Malaga responds reiterating the offer to find a compromise solution. Local 161-710 offers proposal with discounted rate, including a reduction of rehearsal hours to meet MLO stated budget of $75,000 for the orchestra.

·      April 22 – MLO responds to the Local’s proposal as too costly (at approximately $75,000) and reiterates the need for extensive rehearsal hours for singers.

·      April 25 – President Malaga made another proposal reducing the number of rehearsal hours to 21 (7 rehearsals) to accommodate their budget.

·      To date, there has been no response to President Malaga’s latest proposal.

The Executive Board of Local 161-710 is dedicated to supporting professional standards for all of our working musicians. The Local has made good faith efforts to bargain a fair deal which provides members a respectable wage, offering rehearsal hours well in line with industry standards, and at the same time insuring the professional product which Maryland Lyric Opera desires. Nevertheless, these efforts have been rejected by MLO. It is only by standing together that we can achieve the dignity and respect we deserve as artists. As the Executive Board of Local 161-710 continues to negotiate on your behalf, please consider the necessity to stand together with your union brothers and sisters to support these efforts. 


We are asking all 40-543 members to refrain from accepting work with Maryland Lyric Opera. Please forward this message to your colleagues and students who may not be members of our local and ask them not to accept any offers of employment with MLO, as well.

Please contact this office if you have any questions.

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