The Metropolitan Opera Extends Negotiation Period As It Works To Secure New Agreements with Labor Unions

July 31, 2014

No work stoppage as negotiation period is extended for 72 hours
to allow institution and workers to reach agreements
 

Met successfully reaches agreements with three of its unions:
Local 32BJ, Local 30, and Local 210
 

New York, NY – The Metropolitan Opera announced tonight that negotiations with representatives of its labor unions will continue for an additional 72 hours, preventing the need for an immediate work stoppage at the nation’s largest performing arts organization.  The delay was requested by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, who, at the institution’s request, is leading talks between the Met and two of its largest unions, AGMA (which represents singers, dancers, stage managers, and directors) and Local 802 (which represents orchestra musicians and music staff). Discussions also will continue with representatives of Local One, which represents the Met’s stagehands.

The Met also announced that it has reached new contract agreements with three of the 15 unions whose contracts expire at midnight: 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.

The Met is hopeful that the 72 hour extension will allow productive negotiations with all the other unions who have not yet reached agreement with the Met.

“We want to work together with union representatives, and do everything we can to achieve new contracts, which is why we’ve agreed to an extension,” said Met General Manager Peter Gelb.

At issue in the negotiations is the fact that two-thirds of the Met’s $327 million operating budget consists of pay and benefits for union workers, which is an unsustainable amount. The company has proposed a plan of institution-wide cost controls, equally affecting both administrative and union employees, along with other cost-saving measures, as the only viable path to securing the 131-year-old organization’s financial future. Pre-season preparations and rehearsals for the Met’s 2014-15 season, scheduled to begin September 22, are already underway.

The unions whose contracts are not settled are AGMA, Local 802, Local One, Local Four (parks crew); Local 751 (box office treasurers); Local 764 (costume and wardrobe); Local 794 (camera operators); Local 798 (wigs, hair, and make-up); Local 829 (scenic artists and designers); Local 829BP (bill poster); and Local 1456 (painter).