Elsewhere online
August 21, 2014

Metropolitan Opera Resolves Last Major Labor Battle

The Metropolitan Opera and the union representing its stagehands reached tentative agreement Wednesday on a six-year contract that, like deals forged two days earlier with singers and musicians, includes cuts in both employees' pay and administrative spending, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The deals with the Met's biggest unions, coming after months of tense talks and lockout threats, could set a precedent in the nonprofit arts world with their stated principle of "equality of sacrifice," the Journal writes. Opera officials agreed to millions of dollars in non-labor savings to match wage reductions. In addition, the Met and the unions will collectively engage an independent financial analyst to keep tabs on future spending.

The stagehands' contract includes a 3.75-percent wage cut in the first year, offset by raises in years four through six. The Met has yet to complete deals with eight smaller unions representing offstage staff, but General Manager Peter Gelb said "all are expected to reach agreements" soon, clearing the way for the opera's season to open as scheduled on September 22.