The orchestra's contract, along with those of 15 other unions representing workers, expires July 31. The Times reports that the company's management is attempting to reduce labor costs at a time when ticket sales have decreased and its endowment has diminished.
The musicians in the Metropolitan Opera orchestra wore buttons during performances May 10-11 to draw attention to the fact that the opera house is seeking concessions from them in the contract talks.
"We remain hopeful that the negotiations will have a positive outcome," Jessica Phillips Rieske, a clarinetist who is the chairwoman of the orchestra's negotiating committee, said to the Times in a statement. "To maintain this level of quality, the Metropolitan Opera must compensate its musicians at a standard that allows this ensemble to continue to attract and retain world-class talent."
"The Met has only just begun its contract negotiations with the Musicians and its 15 other unions," Local 802 said in a statement. "Our contracts expire at the end of July, and we hope to reach an agreement between now and then. Our singular goal is to control our costs in order to secure a sustainable business model that will ensure the Met’s future and the livelihood of our employees."