Musicians of the NYC Ballet orchestra prepare for potential strike amid contract negotiations

Lucy Yang Image
Wednesday, September 20, 2023 3:23AM
NYC Ballet orchestra prepares for potential strike
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The musicians of the orchestra has authorized a strike if they can't reach a contract with the NYC Ballet. Lucy Yang has the details.

LINCOLN SQUARE, New York (WABC) -- Tuesday was opening night for the New York City Ballet.

But before the curtain went up, musicians held a rally outside of Lincoln Center, as their contract negotiations remain ongoing.

According to the union, the musicians are making 9% less today than they did in 2019, before COVID struck.

"Now the company is doing great, finances better than ever, but we're not seeing any of it," said Ethan Silverman, who's a bassoon player. "Offers at the bargaining table are very bad to say the least."

However, management has stated the following: "The proposal that NYCB has currently offered the musicians restores that 9.3% and also includes increases and bonuses that would raise that in total more than 17% over their current compensation in the first year."

"I've loved the NYC Ballet since I was a little girl," said Julia DeRosa, a principal oboe.

DeRosa is now principal oboist. It took a lifetime of practice and passion for all 67 members of the orchestra to win their coveted seats.

"We want to be inside making music. Making art. Making the world more beautiful," DeRosa added.

Of course, you can't have ballet without the dancers and the dancers can't perform without music.

The orchestra has now authorized a strike if they can't reach a contract with the NYC Ballet.

"I believe we should always be supporting artists and as much as I'm going to enjoy them tonight," said Georgia Forconi, a member of the audience heading to see the ballet.

The two sides meet again in more than a week. Will audiences get to see the Nutcracker this Christmas?


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