The Metropolitan Opera has come to an agreement with a theater workers union it had previously been at odds with, OperaWire reports.
In late 2020, stagehands were locked out due to a constricting Met budget. Earlier this year, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) launched a media campaign against the opera’s general manager, Peter Gelb, for seeking to enforce a 30% wage cut on the opera’s workforce. The campaign slogans read “Without People the Opera is Nothing” and “We Are the Met.” The campaign appeared to put the upcoming season – the first one since the opera shut down at the beginning of the pandemic – in jeopardy. Campaign organizers urged donors to hold back contributions to the Met until IATSE members were reinstated.
The Met says it’s lost over $150 million in revenue since the pandemic began, but union advocates and allies claim the organization has been using COVID-19 as an excuse to shortchange its workers.
Workers at the @MetOpera have helped make NYC the cultural capital fo the world. Outrageous that now the pandemic is being used as a pretext to undermine good jobs.
Standing today with labor allies to demand a fair contract. #WeAreTheMET pic.twitter.com/sGRPx2RAVq
— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) May 13, 2021
Few things are more thrilling than standing with activated, organized, union members. Especially in my neighborhood, here on the #UWS.
Proudly in solidarity with @IATSE, @Local_802_AFM, and all the workers of @MetOpera.#WeAreTheMet #1u pic.twitter.com/Vi7mTAUxvI
— Jeffrey Omura for City Council (@jeffreyomura) May 13, 2021
According to OperaWire, the newly formed agreement “includes a three percent wage cut and a 4 1/2 percent annuity cut for three years. There will also be a lump sum payment equal to eight weeks of bridge pay as well as several other concessions on both sides, per the source. The union itself later confirmed that the deal had been made.”
While OperaWire states the agreement “will allow workers to return in preparation for the 2021-22 season,” which was originally scheduled to begin September 27, 2021, The New York Times writes that the agreement is only tentative, “increasing the likelihood that the company will return to the stage in September after its longest-ever shutdown.”
OK, so the soloists, dancers, musical artists and stagehands have agreed to settle. They still can’t open and perform without an orchestra. They have not settled and in any event, about 30% are gone, retired or left NYC for greener pastures. They are still in trouble.