Met declares season on schedule after latest union agreement

By Andrew Lapin

The Metropolitan Opera reached an agreement with the final major union representing its workers early Wednesday, allowing its season to premiere on schedule Sept. 22 and public radio broadcasts of its performances to continue uninterrupted, according to the Met.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 1, the unit representing the Met’s stagehands, sat out of negotiations with unions representing the Met’s orchestra and choral workers, which concluded Monday. Though several other unions have yet to finalize contracts, the Met announced after the agreement with IATSE that rehearsals and the season premiere will proceed as scheduled.

The Met self-distributes Saturday matinee performances to about 300 radio stations, most of them public, and archives its Live in HD movie theater series for airings on PBS and WNET’s Great Performances @ The Met.

Anticipating a possible lockout, the WFMT Radio Network had begun to prepare an alternate slate of weekend programming for classical stations to air in place of the Met.

Peter Gelb, GM of the Met and a credited e.p. on Great Performances broadcasts of Met shows, had asked for a 17 percent pay cut from workers to help offset a nearly $3 million budget deficit. Contract details were not released, but reports indicated that they included both salary cuts and plans by management to reduce administrative costs.

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