Met Opera Proposes Federal Mediator in Contract Talks

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 09:00 PM

An ominous sky hangs over the Metropolitan Opera House The Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center. (Flickr/nicolemarti)

As part of an eleventh-hour effort to resolve a bitter labor dispute at the Metropolitan Opera, the company has proposed to bring in a federal mediator. Contracts for 15 of its 16 unions expire Thursday at midnight and talks have so far been highly contentious.

The Met introduced the mediation idea in separate talks with the singers' union and the orchestra union. The singers, however, first wanted assurances that both the orchestra and stagehand unions were also on board.

Tino Gagliardi, the president of the orchestra union, says that they're considering the Met's proposal. He also asked the company to extend current contracts and to drop its threats of a lockout. But Met management has said it plans to stay firm on the deadline, and has vowed to lock out its 2,400 unionized workers on Friday morning if a deal isn’t reached in time.

A source close to the stagehands' union said they are not considering mediation as they've had "respectful" talks with the Met all along.

The Met’s mediation proposal came after the singers' union suggested an "interest based bargaining" approach, where both parties sit in a circle, state their interests and work on finding a "win-win" solution. The Met rejected the idea, saying it wasn't practical with so little time left before contracts expire.

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Comments [2]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

ALL the comments that I have here read are valid and historic vantage points suggest that the executive will decry the artists as ingrates even though they are the only talents evident. Moneyed interests have little regard for what is moral or artistic. States that do not have opera houses or symphony halls are unlikely to voluntarily support them elsewhere. Potential outstanding instrumentalists, singers, authors and composers will not sacrifice a normal family life wherein a guaranteed income is essential if one is a responsible parent to the whims or trends or fads of a society errant in its respect and love for the masterpieces of geniuses. We must all be activists in challenging the dogma that nothing matters but money.

Aug. 07 2014 12:12 PM
Sanford Rothenberg from Brooklyn

This seems like a sound idea.Hopefully,all concerned will agree,a desperately needed "gag order" will be issued,realistic and compromise-savvy talks will begin in earnest,and there will be a quick conclusion to the shameful piles of horse manure produced by the parties to this dispute.

Jul. 30 2014 11:03 PM

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