Metropolitan Opera contract talks begin; management seeks salary cuts for musicians

Posted on: February 28, 2014

“The Metropolitan Opera is proposing in contract talks to cut compensation for its union-represented workers for the first time in its 134-year history,” writes Jennifer Maloney in Thursday’s (2/27) Wall Street Journal. “The Met will also limit the number of new productions to six, a slight decline from the seven new productions a year in recent seasons. ‘The Met recognizes that it, like other performing-arts companies, has a serious issue that has to be solved, which is bringing into balance its expenses and its revenues,’ Peter Gelb, its general manager, said.… Talks have just begun, and Met and union representatives declined to specify how much the company was seeking to cut union members’ compensation. The cuts would be effected through work-rule changes, rather than base salary reductions. But the fact that the Met is seeking concessions … indicates that this round of negotiations will be different. ‘Local 802 has never received a set of proposals that represent such a devastating reduction in pay for its musicians,’ said Tino Gagliardi, president of American Federation of Musicians Local 802, which represents the 315 orchestra members and affiliated staff. In addition, Mr. Gelb for the first time is leading negotiations himself, rather than again tapping his predecessor, Joseph Volpe.”

Posted February 28, 2014