Metropolitan Opera wants workers to take 30 percent pay cut
The Metropolitan Opera said Monday that it needs to slash its workers’ long-term contracts by 30 percent to survive — a proposal rejected by the union representing its employees, a new report said.
Because of the impasse, the Met added, it will lock out the few dozen stagehands still working amid the pandemic at midnight Tuesday, according to the New York Times.
“I realize it is incredibly painful what we’re asking them to do,” Peter Gelb, the opera house’s general manager, told the newspaper.
“But what we’re trying to do is keep the Met alive, and the only way to achieve that is to reduce our costs.”
Most of the Met’s nearly 300 stagehands have been furloughed since April. Under the Met’s proposal, a promise of up to $1,500 a week for many employees is attached to the long-term contractual pay cut.
Once, and if, the Met’s revenue returns to pre-pandemic levels, half of the cuts would be restored, the newspaper reported.
James Claffey Jr., the president of Local One — the union representing the Met’s workers — told the Times that none of the stagehands were open to the 30 percent pay cut.
“To do this during a deadly virus is just ridiculous,” Claffey said, referring to the lockout. “But that’s their leverage at this point.”
The Met hopes to reopen next fall, with work for more stagehands planned to begin well in advance.