Brian Wise covers the classical music business for WQXR, including aspects of performance, technology, philanthropy and institutional trends. He produces the Café Concerts series and the podcast/show Conducting Business. He manages the station's homepage and makes sure what you hear on air is what you see online. Follow him on Twitter at @Briancwise.
Met Opera, Remaining Unions Reach Contract Deals
Friday, August 22, 2014 - 12:05 PM
The Metropolitan Opera has now reached tentative labor agreements with all of its remaining unions.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) says the deal covers six unions representing several groups of workers, including camera operators, box office treasurers and scene artists and designers.
Details of the agreements – which still need to be ratified – have not been released.
“While cost savings are comparable to other agreements reached, the terms and conditions agreed upon this evening vary greatly," said IATSE International president Matthew Loeb in a statement. "These six agreements were crafted to meet the needs of our members and the Met.”
The Met had threatened to lock out its workers if a deal couldn't be reached.
Even though negotiations are finally over, tension will likely linger from what has been the worst labor strife in nearly four decades at the Met. Most of the unions are set to take a 7-percent pay-cut – a far cry from the 17 percent general manager Peter Gelb asked for at the start of talks. But these also represent the first pay cuts for the Met's unionized workers in decades.
The new contract deals come less than a day before the Met launches its annual Summer HD Festival. The 10-day series of screenings kicks off on Friday with "Moonstruck," the 1987 romantic comedy for which Cher and Olympia Dukakis won Oscars. The opera lineup begins Saturday with La Boheme, and the entire series runs through Sept. 1.