Met Opera Settles Contract Disputes With Performers As Stagehands’ Protest Looms


The Metropolitan Opera has agreed to a brand new contract with one of many unions representing performers, whereas the stagehands’ union is planning a protest Thursday outdoors Lincoln Heart after being locked out of their contract negotiations.

The most important performing arts group within the nation with greater than 3,000 staffers, the Met cancelled its 2020-2021 season because the pandemic surged in New York Metropolis and has not carried out since March eleventh, 2020. The establishment furloughed all union members a few week later together with the opera’s musicians, refrain singers, and stagehands.

Well being advantages have been supplied by the furlough for the orchestra, refrain and administrative employees however the stagehands haven’t acquired well being profit funds since contract negotiations broke down in December.

The American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents performers within the refrain, singers, dancers, actors, stage managers and employees administrators, stated in a press release on its web site Tuesday that the negotiations started final summer time “throughout the hardest time of our lives and careers. Now, we’re stuffed with hope as we see New York Metropolis coming again to life. We’re so excited to return to a greater, safer, extra equitable Met and see our beloved viewers once more. We constructed a greater Met and we imagine most of the phrases on this settlement will change our business for the higher.”

The phrases of the brand new four-year contract weren’t instantly out there. The union will start its ratification course of Could twenty fourth.

“As town’s largest performing arts firm, we’re decided to take part in New York’s reopening,” Peter Gelb, the Met’s common supervisor, stated in a press release to the New York Occasions, “though there’s a lot nonetheless to be settled with our unions and in getting ready the opera home for subsequent season.” The Met additionally introduced two small performances on the Knockdown Heart in Maspeth on Saturday.

The Met says it has misplaced $150 million in income throughout the pandemic, and that senior management took pay cuts, together with Gelb who forewent pay from March 2020 till this January, when he began receiving 70% of his wage.

Nonetheless unresolved are the contract negotiations with the unions representing the orchestra and the stagehands, with disputes over pay cuts. “After the opera home was closed, the members of its orchestra and refrain went unpaid for almost a 12 months. Then the corporate introduced them to the bargaining desk with the supply of as much as $1,543 per week, lower than half of what they’re sometimes paid,” the Occasions reported. The pay reductions are to be restored in half “when the Met’s field workplace and core donations return to pre-pandemic ranges,” the Met stated.

The American Federation of Musicians Native 802, which represents about 100-150 members of the orchestra, in addition to music employees and librarians, agreed to just accept bridge funds till a brand new contract is negotiated.

The Worldwide Alliance of Theatrical Stage Staff’s Native One union, which represents greater than 350 stagehands, carpenters, and backstage employees, has been locked out since negotiations broke down in December and is getting ready to protest outdoors Lincoln Heart Thursday.

A union consultant stated the Met had outsourced the manufacturing of two units to Europe, and the set for the September twenty seventh season opener — the Met’s premiere of Hearth Shut Up In My Bones by Terence Blanchard — was being made by a store on the West Coast.

“Peter Gelb, the Met’s common supervisor, and his board, have been making non-negotiable calls for, cruelly inflicting hurt on our members already harm by the pandemic,” stated James J. Claffey Jr., president of IATSE Native One, in a press launch. “That is shameful conduct and should finish to avert an actual opera tragedy.”

“Individuals are offended, they wish to see this settled. They wish to see opera return, and so they’re very devoted to it. I imply, these are the folks which are the highest of the opera world that work there. However the administration is enjoying hardball,” stated Jamie Horwitz, a spokesperson for IATSE. “However till they settle with the stagehands…they cannot function Lincoln Heart.”

Members of IATSE and others plan to carry a rally protesting the lockout at 12 p.m. on Thursday, Could thirteenth, in entrance of Lincoln Heart’s plaza.