Potential strike at New York City Opera

Posted on: December 13, 2011

In Sunday’s (12/11) Crain’s New York Business, Miriam Kreinin Souccar writes, “The once venerable New York City Opera is hanging by a thread, despite a radical restructuring that has seen it abandon its Lincoln Center home and slash costs. The beleaguered company’s future now hinges on its ability to make a deal with the orchestra and singers’ unions, both of which have passed strike-authorization votes and are waging an aggressive campaign against the opera and its general manager, George Steel. The two sides reached an impasse in contract negotiations earlier this month and are hoping to get back to the bargaining table this week with the help of a mediator, who was appointed last Wednesday. If an agreement isn’t reached, the unions—which say their new contract would basically turn them into freelancers earning just a fraction of what they used to take home—are pledging not just to strike, but to do everything in their power to put the opera out of business. … Mr. Steel admits that fundraising has become more challenging but blames it on the labor disagreements. ‘The labor strife puts a crimp in our ability to raise money. People are waiting to see what happens,’ he said. Even with the troubles, he says, the opera is meeting its fundraising schedule and has raised half of the roughly $11.6 million in donated income that it needs for this season.”

Posted December 13, 2011