Metropolitan Opera reaches deal with unions before new season

By Daniel S Levine,

The Metropolitan Opera’s new season will begin as hoped, now that deals with the unions representing stagehands, singers and orchestra members have been reached.

The 2014-15 season was in trouble if the Opera could not reach tentative deals with the unions. However, after a summer of back and forth negotiating, it came down to the wire this week and eventually, the necessary deals came about.

Back on Monday morning, the Wall Street Journal reported that the deals with the singers and orchestra members were reached after overnight negotiating. The four-year contracts addressed the Opera’s biggest concern - dropping revenues. So, the groups agreed to a 3.5 percent pay cut now, then another 3.5 percent pay cut in six months. Management itself will also have to cut $11.25 million in expenses outside of bargaining agreements.

The deal with the stagehands’ union, Local 1 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, was reached at 3:15 a.m. this morning, reports The New York Times.

Union president Matthew D. Loeb said that while the deal wasn’t easy, “in these final hours we were able to craft an agreement that allows the show to go on and is fair for our members.”

Met general manager Peter Gelb was seeking bigger pay cuts and even cuts to health and pension benefits. While the cuts were not as great as he wanted, the cuts were still the first pay cuts accepted by unionized Met workers in decades, the Times noted.

New York’s Met will start its new season on Sept. 22 with Mozart’s Nozze di Figaro.

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