Hours after President Trump signed a stimulus bill that includes $25 million for the Kennedy Center, its president Deborah Rutter told the National Symphony Orchestra that their paychecks would end this week.The Kennedy Center — a performing arts center and memorial for President John F. Kennedy — canceled performances from March 12 to May 10 as government officials restrict large gatherings to combat the spread of the coronavirus.In a conference call Friday night, Rutter told orchestra leaders that the 96 musicians would receive their last paycheck on April 3 and that they will not be paid until the arts center reopens. In addition, she said their health-care benefits would stop at the end of May if the arts center is still closed at that time. The announcement was characterized by several NSO members as a shock.Ed Malaga, president of Local 161-710 of the American Federation of Musicians, described the decision as outrageous and said the union has filed a grievance challenging what it believes is an illegal action.“This decision, from an organization with an endowment of nearly $100 million, is not only outrageous — coming after the musicians had expressed their willingness to discuss ways to accommodate the Kennedy Center during this


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