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Kennedy Center reaches deal on pay with orchestra after public backlash

Kennedy Center reaches deal on pay with orchestra after public backlash
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The Kennedy Center reached a deal with its National Symphony Orchestra that includes pay cuts and wage freezes after the organization previously attempted to furlough the musicians.

The center released a statement Tuesday announcing an agreement with the musicians that includes pay cuts of 35 percent for the next six months, a freezing of wages for the 2020-21 season and a delay of a planned pay increase.

As part of the deal, the District of Columbia Federation of Musicians, the union that represents the orchestra members, said it will drop its grievance filed against the Kennedy Center.

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The Kennedy Center sparked an outcry after the organization sought to furlough orchestra musicians despite receiving $25 million in funding from the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. Union leaders filed a grievance in response and called the furlough illegal.

"That action [the furlough] was not permitted under our collective bargaining agreement," the union said in an emailed statement. "In recognition of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Kennedy Center, however, we have agreed to modify our collective bargaining agreement to make substantial economic concessions."

-- Updated at 3:32 p.m.