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11:07 am
Fri August 15, 2014

New Deadline For Met Opera Negotiations: Sunday

With a little more than a month before the MET opera season opens, management has set Sunday night as a new deadline for reaching an agreement. The company has been threatening to lock out its workers if they do not agree to concessions.  

The deadline was announced last Monday by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, which joined the talks with two of the biggest unions at the opera house: Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, which represents the orchestra, and the American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents the chorus, singers, stage directors and others.

The mediation service said in a statement that the report by the analyst, Eugene J. Keilin, was “nearing its completion.”

Management at the Met said that it would have no comment beyond the statement issued by the mediation service “other than that we look forward to resuming our negotiations with the unions, and hope that we can come to agreement in advance of the new deadline.”

The union representing the orchestra said in a statement that while the Met’s management was threatening to lock out the employees if no agreement was reached by Sunday, it intended, along with the guild of musical artists, “to continue to bargain in good faith until an agreement can be reached by both sides.”

The Met’s general manager, Peter Gelb, has threatened to lock out the workers if they do not agree to concessions that he says are necessary to ensure the survival of the opera house. But the two sides agreed to continue working, and talking, after most of the company’s contracts expired July 31 when the federal mediator joined some of the negotiations.

Talks with a third major union at the opera house which represents the stagehands, broke off on July 31 after Mr. Gelb rejected their offer of a wage freeze and asked them to accept a 14.5 percent cut, according to a letter that the local’s president, wrote to members last week. That union, which is not part of the mediation process, is watching to see what the other unions do.

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