With First Pay Cuts in Decades, Met Opera and Unions Reach Agreement

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
20 Aug 2014

Following months of negotiations, a new labor agreement has been secured with the Metropolitan Opera and IATSE Local One, the union representing the company's stagehands, Aug. 19. Final negotiations with eight smaller unions representing behind-the-scenes Met personnel will take place Aug. 20.



Pre-season rehearsals and preparations for the 2014-15 season will continue without interruption. The Met season will open as scheduled Sept. 22 with a new production of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro

The new agreements are the culmination of a six-month series of conversations between the Met and unions representing its employees. More than 1,600 Met full-time and seasonal employees are members of a total of 16 unions.

The Met reached new agreements with three of its unions July 31, the original contract deadline: Local 32BJ, which represents ushers, ticket takers, cleaning staff, porters, security guards and office service workers; Local 210, which represents the call center; and Local 30, which represents building engineers. On Aug. 18, the Met reached new agreements with AGMA (singers, dancers, directors, and stage managers) and Local 802 (orchestra musicians and librarians).

The remaining unions with unsettled contracts include six unions represented by IATSE: Local 751 (box-office treasurers), Local 764 (costume and wardrobe), Local 794 (camera operators), Local 798 (wigs, hair and make-up), Local USA 829 (scenic artists and designers); and Local 829EE (bill poster), Local Four (parks crew); and Local 1456 (painter).

Pay cuts between 16-17 percent were originally sought by Peter Gelb, the Met's general manager, as well as cuts to health and pension benefits and changes in the work rules, the New York Times reports. Many of Gelb's demands were dropped, but he won the first pay cuts from the Met's unionized workers in decades. He also and agreed to match the savings with nonlabor cuts and to permit an independent analyst to monitor the company's finances.

As previously reported, Gelb had advised union members to prepare for a lockout if an agreement was not reached by July 31. Gelb has cited ticket sales, rising operating costs and a depleted endowment as contributing to the financial problems.

The union's proposals included decreasing the number of new productions, shortening rehearsals and lowering ticket prices. Additionally, the American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents singers, dancers and stage managers, presented a proposal for a series of two-percent raises over each of the next three years.

Visit metopera.org for more information.