Met Opera Seeks Pay Cuts in Change for Pandemic Paychecks
The Metropolitan Opera has supplied to start out paying many staff who’ve been furloughed with out pay since April as much as $1,500 per week in alternate for brand new union contracts that embrace long-term pay cuts, the corporate’s common supervisor stated in a gathering with employees on Friday.
Two months after saying that the curtains wouldn’t half once more till fall 2021, the Met’s common supervisor, Peter Gelb, stated in a video name with Met staff that the corporate was keen minimize a take care of unions that may imply its members would obtain partial paychecks at some point of the pandemic. The catch: Staff must comply with a 30 % minimize in pay, half of which might be restored as soon as the Met’s field workplace returned to pre-pandemic ranges.
Mr. Gelb predicted that even after the pandemic subsided, ticket gross sales can be depressed for a number of years, citing a current examine that stated New York Metropolis was not prone to attain its pre-pandemic tourism ranges till 2025. One other issue that he cited is that the Met’s viewers leans older, that means they could be extra reluctant to return to the three,800-seat opera home.
“For the Met to get again on its ft, we’re all going to need to make monetary concessions and sacrifices,” Mr. Gelb stated within the Zoom name, which was considered reside by greater than 500 individuals.
Roughly 1,000 full-time Met staff, together with its orchestra and refrain, have been furloughed with out pay since April. For a lot of, it is going to be tempting to start out receiving paychecks once more, which might quantity to 70 % of their base salaries and can be capped at $1,500 per week.
However the unions must comply with new contracts that would scale back their employees’ take-home pay, which is usually considerably greater than their base salaries, by 30 %, largely via a collection of modifications to work guidelines.
The unions that work with the Met are towards making such important concessions that might have an effect on employees lengthy after probably the most extreme impacts of the pandemic subside, and have accused administration of profiting from the outbreak with a purpose to get them to comply with cost-cutting measures.
“The Met’s opportunistic method seeks to completely intestine our contract means past the top of this disaster,” stated Len Egert, the manager director of the American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents the corporate’s choristers, stage administrators, dancers, in an announcement on Friday.
Mr. Egert stated that his union members “have no real interest in promoting out their future for short-term reduction.”
The pandemic has severely strained arts establishments throughout the nation, and even the Met, the nation’s largest performing arts group, has not been spared. The Met’s funds have been perilous even earlier than the virus struck: its annual funds is $300 million a yr, and it earns lower than a 3rd of that via box-office gross sales, leaving it closely reliant on donors. The corporate has misplaced greater than $150 million due to the shutdown, and its announcement in September that it was canceling its total 2020-21 season signaled that the losses have been solely simply starting.
A Met spokeswoman declined to say what sort of modifications to work guidelines have been below dialogue as a result of the corporate is in the course of union negotiations.
A part of union opposition to the requested concessions is that half of the wage cuts will solely be restored when the field workplace recovers, which may simply take years.
The Met’s field workplace was projected to make $88 million within the 2019-20 season earlier than it was minimize brief by the pandemic, Mr. Gelb stated, and the corporate initiatives that its subsequent season beginning within the fall of 2021 will solely soak up about $49 million. Below his proposal, even when the box-office gross sales recuperate, staff would nonetheless be paid 15 % lower than they have been earlier than the pandemic struck.
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