Shortly after Republican lawmakers introduced a bill to make the Kennedy Center pay back their $25 million stimulus check, the arts center announced they are walking back their decision to furlough nearly 100 members of the orchestra.
The initial move to furlough their workers was met with sharp criticism, along with a lawsuit from affected musicians.
The Washington Free Beacon reports on the news:
The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has struck a deal with members of the National Symphony Orchestra after attempting to halt salary payments to the musicians.
The organization's decision ignited a furor because it came just hours after President Donald Trump signed a stimulus package that sent the Kennedy Center $25 million. Tuesday's move is an attempt to quell the anger.
The District of Columbia Federation of Musicians, the union that represents the orchestra members, announced to its 96 members on Tuesday morning that it had reached a deal to avoid unpaid furloughs stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. Under the terms of the new agreement, musicians will take a partial pay cut as long as the Kennedy Center remains closed. They will also accept a wage freeze for the remainder of the calendar year.
In exchange for continued pay, the musicians agreed to drop a grievance filed against the Kennedy Center. Orchestra leaders welcomed the development but maintained that the center's actions were illegal.
The Kennedy Center ignited a nationwide firestorm when they told their orchestra they would be getting no more paychecks just hours after they received a $25 million bailout.
Their decision to now pay them is clearly an attempt to save face.
The Kennedy Center has long been a huge donor to the Democratic party, and it comes as no surprise that Pelosi lobbied to get them the large stimulus check in the first place.
While it's good news that the orchestra will now be receiving some money, it may be too little too late for the arts center who has become despised by millions of Americans.