Houston – September 11, 2019—Houston Grand Opera (HGO) is proud to announce the signing of new collective bargaining agreements (CBA) with three union groups that provide critical services for the company including American Federation of Musicians (AFM), Local 65-699, the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), and I.A.T.S.E. Theatrical Wardrobe Union (TWU), Local 896. These unions are key to the success of Houston Grand Opera providing the highest level of artistic excellence to its audiences.

These new multi-year agreements for AFM and AGMA cover fiscal years 2020 through 2022. The TWU agreement has a four-year term and will expire in 2023. The previous agreements with AFM and AGMA were extended following Hurricane Harvey (AGMA through Jul. 31, 2019 and AFM through Aug. 31, 2019).

“Opera companies by nature are huge jigsaw puzzles with hundreds of people each playing a vital role in making a complete picture–or in our case, a performance. Our union colleagues are an integral part of the production process and help make HGO such a renowned and thrilling company. These contract extensions will allow us to continue providing the highest-quality opera and impact the lives of many people within the Houston community. Patrick Summers and I are honored to lead such skilled and dedicated teams through the next three years,” said HGO Managing Director Perryn Leech.

The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) represents professional instrumental musicians in the United States and Canada. "Our negotiating team worked very hard to prepare and present a proposal that reflected the needs of our world-class HGO Orchestra,” states AFM Negotiating Committee Chair Amanda Swain. “We had a respectful and productive dialogue with Perryn Leech that resulted in a progressive contract, which the musicians ratified on June 21, 2019. I would like to thank Local 65-699 President Lovie Smith-Wright for her support and presence during the negotiations, our AFM negotiator Jane Owen for being a contract language wizard, and the other members of the HGO Orchestra negotiating team: Nancy Nelson, Rene Salazar, Sylvia VerMeulen, and Dennis Whittaker."

The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) is the labor union representing artists from numerous disciplines that create America's operatic, dance, and choral heritage, including soloists, choral singers, actors, dancers, directors and assistant directors. "AGMA congratulates HGO for its successful contract negotiations and sends best wishes for an outstanding 2019-2020 performing season! On behalf of all the Artists we represent we extend gratitude to everyone who supported HGO in its unprecedented recovery from the effects of Hurricane Harvey to make HGO stronger than ever,” said AGMA Associate Executive Director Deborah Allton-Maher.

Theatrical Wardrobe Union is the labor union for wardrobe technicians in the entertainment industry. “I.A.T.S.E. Theatrical Wardrobe Union Local 896 is pleased to once again be working with Houston Grand Opera. Organizations such as Houston Grand Opera bring much needed inspiration & beauty to the Houston Arts community. We are excited to be a part of the team for new season,” said I.A.T.S.E. T.W.U. Local 896 President Barbara Dolney.

Earlier this year, HGO also reached an agreement on a multi-year CBA with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 51. The new terms were incorporated into a draft agreement and accepted by Local 51 union leadership and members on Feb 26.

The ongoing relationships between these organizations are imperative. The union agreements allow Houston Grand Opera to realize productions at the highest possible level and bring world-class art to the city of Houston. To learn more about Houston Grand Opera visit, HGO.org.


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