Metropolitan Opera offers partial paychecks for furloughed musicians and other employees during pandemic

Posted on: November 23, 2020

“The Metropolitan Opera has offered to start paying many employees who have been furloughed without pay since April up to $1,500 a week in exchange for new union contracts that include long-term pay cuts,” writes Julia Jacobs in Friday’s (11/20) New York Times. “The Met’s general manager, Peter Gelb, said in a [Friday] video call with Met employees that the company was willing to cut a deal with unions that would mean its members would receive partial paychecks for the duration of the pandemic. The catch: Employees would have to agree to a 30 percent cut in pay, half of which would be restored once the Met’s box office returned to pre-pandemic levels…. Roughly 1,000 full-time Met employees, including its orchestra and chorus, have been furloughed without pay since April…. Len Egert, the executive director of the American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents the company’s choristers, stage directors, and dancers … said that his union members ‘have no interest in selling out their future for short-term relief.’ … The company has lost more than $150 million because of the shutdown [and announced] in September that it was canceling its entire 2020-21 season.”