Kennedy Center Stops Musicians' Pay Despite $25M in Federal Relief

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The National Symphony Orchestra was told by the Kennedy Center president that they will not be paid after next week, according to the union that represents them.

The announcement came on the same day President Donald Trump signed the stimulus package that included $25 million for the Kennedy Center.

"They're shocked, they're stunned. They don't know how to prepare to know that their last pay check is coming next Friday," said Ed Malaga, president of the Metropolitan Washington D.C. Federation of Musicians.

Malaga said the stimulus money is supposed to be used for operating expenses including pay. The decision to furlough the musicians violates their collective bargaining agreement. He said the union has filed a grievance challenging the furloughs.

The president of the Kennedy Center, Deborah Rutter, told The Washington Post that without concerts and ticket revenue, they cannot continue to pay musicians to stay home.

She also said $25 million would provide cash flow for essential personnel to ensure the center can reopen and bring staffers and musicians back to work.

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