Opera Colorado Votes to Join the American Guild of Musical Artists
A 91-8 vote in favor of unionization will allow both onstage and backstage employees to negotiate fairer pay and better working conditions
The musicians of Opera Colorado recently voted in favor of joining the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), the national labor union for workers in the music sector. The vote passed comfortably with a margin of 91-8 — and is the first in some decades to create a single entity through which all onstage and backstage employees will be represented.
In Spring 2024, the company's artists voted to unionize, but Opera Colorado chose not to recognize their wishes voluntarily. This decision meant that the labor union needed to file a petition for an election with the National Labor Relations Board.
The successful vote to unionize will allow the company's musicians to negotiate better pay and workplace protections. At the forefront of the musicians' concerns is that singers are paid per production, and at an overly modest rate.
"I think this is a ringing declaration," said Joshua Zabatta, a singer in Opera Colorado’s chorus since 2016. "We made it very clear, with an almost 92% vote, we want change and we want to make art in a creative and supportive environment where we have the tools that we need."
"Congratulations to the Artists of Opera Colorado on their resounding vote to join AGMA," said Sam Wheeler, the National Executive Director of the AGMA. "The road leading up to the NLRB election was not easy, and AGMA applauds the artists' determination to secure a seat at the table for meaningful discussions about their professional lives."
"The Union is committed to working collaboratively with Opera Colorado to address the artists’ concerns and to advocate for fair wages, benefits, and working conditions. Please join us in welcoming the Artists of Opera Colorado into the AGMA community!"