Metropolitan Opera Reaches Deals With Remaining Unions

6:10 AM PST 08/22/2014 by The Associated Press
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Lockout averted one month before season begins

The Metropolitan Opera has reached labor agreements with the remaining unions that had expired contracts, averting the threat of a lockout about a month before the season is scheduled to start.

The Met and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees said Thursday that the groups reaching the tentative contracts include camera operators, box office treasurers and scene artists and designers. The contracts must still be ratified, as must the contracts reached Wednesday with the union representing its stagehands and the agreements on Monday between the Met and its orchestra and chorus.

Fifteen unions had been negotiating for new agreements, representing about 2,500 workers. The deadline had been approaching some weeks ago, and a federal mediator came in to try to help.

Met general manager Peter Gelb had wanted the workers to take pay cuts of about 17 percent. He pointed to increasing production costs and declining audiences. The union members protested, saying that wasn't necessary and pointing to a deficit of $2.8 million on a $326 million budget.

Details of the contracts haven't been released, and terms vary among the unions. Negotiations had been going on since February.

The Met's season is set to begin Sept. 22.

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