20 August 2014

Metropolitan Opera Reaches Contractual Agreement with Stagehands' Union, Resolving Labor Crisis and Ending Threat of Work Stoppage

The Metropolitan Opera announced early this morning that it had reached a new labor agreement with IATSE Local One, the union representing the company's stagehands, effectively resolving a labor crisis that, at one point, seemed to portend a work stoppage that could have threatened the company's coming 2014-15 season. 

News of the settlement with IATSE (the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) followed Monday early morning's announcement that, with the help of federal mediators, the company had successfully negotiated new four-year contracts with Local 802 and AGMA — the unions representing the Met's orchestra and chorus, singers and stage managers, respectively. 

Final negotiations with eight smaller unions that represent behind-the-scenes Met personnel are expected to take place tomorrow, with agreements anticipated with each. 

The new agreement with Local One, which is subject to ratification, will give the Met cost savings comparable to the newly inked contracts with Local 802 and AGMA. In light of the completion of negotiations with IATSE, pre-season rehearsals and preparations for the Met's 2014-15 season will continue without interruption, the company said. 

The Met's season is slated to open on September 22, with a new production of Nozze di Figaro directed by Richard Eyre and conducted by the company's music director, James Levine, and will continue with 221 performances of twenty-six operas. 

The agreements with IATSE, Local 802 and AGMA represent the culmination of six-months of discussions between the Met and its three largest unions. In total, more than 1,600 of the company's full-time and seasonal employees are represented by sixteen unions. In addition to IATSE, Local 802 and AGMA, the Met has also reached agreements with Local 32BJ, which represents ushers, ticket takers, cleaning staff, porters, security guards, and office service workers; Local 210, which represents the call center; and Local 30, which represents building engineers.

The remaining unions with unsettled contracts include six unions represented by IATSE: Local 751 (box office treasurers), Local 764 (costume and wardrobe), Local 794 (camera operators), Local 798 (wigs, hair, and make-up), Local USA 829 (scenic artists and designers), and Local 829EE (bill poster); Local Four (parks crew); and Local 1456 (painter). 

More information can be found at The Metropolitan Opera and the OPERA NEWS Archives (here, here  and here). spacer 

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