Met Opera Protest: Unions Rally Towards Proposed Pay Cuts

Tension heightened when the stagehands learned that the Met had outsourced some of its set construction to non-union stores in other parts of the country and overseas. (In a letter to the union last year, Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Met, wrote that the average full-time stage worker cost the Met $ 260,000 in 2019, including services The regular and sometimes full-time work at the Met is accounted for, the average wage is much lower.)

The stage lock was not absolute. Claffey said that at the Met’s request, he allowed several members of Local One to work at the Met under the terms of the previous contract, specifically to help the union cloakroom workers on duty.

But while the Met has now signed a deal with the American Guild of Musical Artists, who represent their choir, they haven’t yet reached out to Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, who represent the orchestra. Both groups were on leave for almost a year without pay after the opera house closed before being brought back to the negotiating table with the promise of partial compensation of up to $ 1,543 per week.

Adam Krauthamer, the president of Local 802 pointed out that due to the division of labor in the Met, other performing arts institutions were ahead of the Met’s reopening.

“Broadway sells tickets. The Philharmonie plays performances. They are building stages right in front of our eyes, ”said Krauthamer in a speech at the rally. “The Met is the only place that continues to try to destroy its workers’ contracts.”

The rally was supported by several local politicians speaking, including Gale Brewer, the President of Manhattan District, and New York State Senators Jessica Ramos and Brad Hoylman, who had a message for the Met’s general manager: “Mr. Yellow, could you please leave the drama on stage? “

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