Tension increases around the Metropolitan Opera and the potential lockout beginning Friday, August 1, according to The New York Times. On Thursday night, contracts will expire for fifteen unions, including orchestra, chorus, stage crews, scenic artists, hair and makeup stylists, costumers, and more.
According to The Wall Street Journal, contract negotiations include compensation cuts for the first time in decades because donors have reached their limits in willingness to cover the faltering ticket sales and growing expenses.
If the Met makes a deal with one group, then a pattern is likely to follow for the rest. This makes the unions wary of each other. The biggest contestants, IATSE Local 1, representing the stagehands; IATSE Local 764, representing the costumers; the American Guild of Musical Artists, representing chorus, soloists, stage directors, and more; and Local 802, representing the orchestra, have differing strategies.
The chorus and orchestra are against the concessions, and doubt that the Met's finances are as tight as they claim. Meanwhile, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees believes the Met's claim of financial difficulties. President of IATSE, Matthew Loeb, released a letter, concerning his thoughts on the contract matter, which you can read here.
If deals are not struck by Friday, workers face lock outs, as threatened by Peter Gelb, general manager of the Met.
To read the full articles, visit The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Check out the Save the Met Opera Facebook page, created by IASTE, which has accrued almost 4,000 likes, including many designers.