New York Met ends union standoff, season on schedule

NEW YORK- New York's Metropolitan Opera announced Wednesday it has reached an agreement with stagehands that will allow it to start its season on schedule.
The opera said it had worked a new contract with the union representing company stagehands, following agreements earlier in the week with musicians and singers.

Unions had become locked in a bitter dispute with the company's managing director, Peter Gelb, who had pushed to slash salaries by around 16 percent at the world's wealthiest opera company.
A deadline he set for a work stoppage, however, was repeatedly pushed back allowing for further negotiating.
"Rehearsals and pre-season preparations will continue without any work stoppage," the Met said in a statement, adding that the season will begin on September 22 with Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro.
The new contract with the stagehands "will provide the institution with savings comparable to those achieved through the recent agreements" with the musicians and singers, it added.
The stagehand deal, which must still be ratified, "wasn't easy" said union president Matthew Loeb.
But it "offers a way to get the Met on a track for success" and includes "mandatory cost reductions from management and an independent monitor to track budget performance."
The Met is the biggest classical music organization in the United States and dwarfs counterparts in Europe with a budget of nearly $327 million.
The pay dispute represented $200 million of its budget.
The Met said that final negotiations with eight smaller unions will take place Thursday, and are expected to be reached.

Sunday, August 24th 2014

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