Met Opera Extends Deadline Due to Financial Review; Negotiations Will Resume This Week | Playbill

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News Met Opera Extends Deadline Due to Financial Review; Negotiations Will Resume This Week Following a review of the Metropolitan Opera's finances, negotiations between the Met and the chorus and other members of the American Guild of Musical Artists will resume later this week.

The opera had previously set a deadline of July 31 to reach an agreement in negotiations, but the deadline was extended due to the financial review, which is "nearing its completion."

At the request of the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), the Metropolitan Opera, Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians and the American Guild of Musical Artists jointly agreed to retain an independent financial analyst to perform a due diligence financial study of the Met. The analyst, Eugene Keilin, a co-founder of KPS Capital Partners, LP, will render a non-binding report to the parties to assist them in reaching new collective bargaining agreements.

During this process the employees covered will continue to perform their regular assignments under the terms of their contracts, which expired July 31.

"Although the Met Management has announced a deadline for Sunday, August 17, after which, if there is no agreement, they will lock out the musicians, craftspeople and choristers, it is Local 802 and AGMA's intention to continue to bargain in good faith until an agreement can be reached by both sides," the Associated Musicians of Greater New York said in a statement released Aug. 11.

As previously reported, the opera company's general manager, Peter 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 include 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.

Union officials also said they had asked the New York attorney general to examine the Met's draws from its endowment, which the Met told the Journal stood at $267 million as of July 11, down from $305.8 million in July 2006.

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