New York, NY—The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and Des Moines Metro Opera (DMMO) jointly announce the first collective bargaining agreement between the Union and DMMO.

The CBA covers stage management staff. Effective May 1, 2023 through August 31, 2025, the contract, which covers the next three seasons was recently approved by AGMA leadership, after being overwhelmingly ratified by the shop. A side letter covering the position of Production Stage Manager was also approved.

DMMO and the AGMA DMMO Negotiating Committee, representing their fellow staging staff members, came to a mutually beneficial contract.

“AGMA is thrilled to have reached an agreement with DMMO. After negotiating productively and in good faith with DMMO for months, we can confidently say that this contract serves the best interests of the Company’s staging staff, including some of the newest members of AGMA,” said Sam Wheeler, AGMA’s National Executive Director. “Congratulations to the members who spent their time and talents organizing at this company and negotiating a first contract. We look forward to a long-lasting and collaborative working relationship with DMMO.”

In announcing the agreement, General and Artistic Director Michael Egel said, “DMMO is extremely gratified to have reached a first agreement with AGMA that addresses the needs of both the company and its stage managers and assistant stage managers. We believe that the professional and collaborative nature of the negotiating process established a foundation of trust and reciprocity for the future."

Contract Highlights Include:


  • Wage increases
  • Overtime pay
  • Compensation for travel
  • Housing terms
  • Sick pay
  • COVID protections
  • Media payments
  • Retirement contributions
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion provisions

In June 2022, AGMA reported that the stage managers and assistant stage managers of Des Moines Metro Opera had officially unionized with AGMA. Following a successful card check, DMMO management voluntarily recognized the Union, respecting the artists wishes.


About AGMA

The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) is the labor union of singers, dancers, and staging staff in opera, ballet and concert dance, and concert choral performance in the United States. A national union with a membership of over 6,000 artists, AGMA provides forceful advocacy and defense of its members’ employment and artistic rights. AGMA negotiates and enforces over 65 collective bargaining agreements throughout the country, ensuring fair and safe working conditions and enhancing the quality of life of its members. AGMA has a direct charter from the AFL-CIO and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO Branch of Associated Actors and Artists of America and the Department for Professional Employees (DPE). AGMA is also a part of the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds (COBUG).

About Des Moines Metro Opera

Lauded by the Chicago Tribune as “one of the most enterprising summer opera fests in the nation,” Des Moines Metro Opera is a nationally renowned opera company that has taken its place among America’s leading opera festivals. Founded in 1973, it’s one of the largest performing arts organizations in Iowa, annually producing over 100 performances in the metro area and across the region.