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-August 20, 2014

New York, N.Y.—Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Statement from Tino Gagliardi, President, Met Orchestra musicians’ union Local 802, AFM:

“We are pleased to hear that our colleagues, the Met Opera stagehands and craftspeople of I.A.T.S.E. Local 1, have also reached a tentative agreement, bringing us closer to the shared goal of opening night. We are very glad that Local 1 has joined us in insisting on mandatory cost reductions from management and an independent monitor to track budget performance, since they are crucial to achieving sustainable excellence at the Met. Throughout these negotiations, we took a data-driven approach and raised recommendations regarding the best ways to achieve innovative, fiscally responsible grand opera at the Met. As a result of this, and the good work of federal mediators and an independent financial analyst, we now have tentative contractual language requiring shared investments in the Met Opera’s future by both workers and management, as well as mechanisms to ensure financial oversight and efficient collaboration going forward. The musicians of the MET orchestra love what they do and believe strongly in the relevance and future of opera. We stand with all those who remain at the table as negotiations continue.”

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-August 18, 2014

Statement from Met Opera Musicians and Local 802, AFM, Regarding Tentative Negotiation Agreement

New York, N.Y.—Monday, August 18, 2014—The musicians of the Met Orchestra and their union, Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, announced that they have reached a tentative agreement with the Metropolitan Opera.

Said Tino Gagliardi, president of the Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802, AFM, which represents the MET Orchestra musicians, “After many hours of deliberation, today we have reached a tentative agreement which is subject to the approval of Local 802′s executive board and ratification by the MET Orchestra Musicians.”

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-August 11, 2014

Met Opera Update: Despite Met Opera Management’s New Lockout Deadline of 8/17, Opera Musicians Eager to Continue to Negotiate in Good Faith

FMCS Announces Independent Analyst Report Nearing Completion

New York, N.Y.—Monday, August 11, 2014—The U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), announced today that the report of the independent analyst brought in to review the Metropolitan Opera’s finances was nearing its completion. Negotiations between the Met and the musicians (Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians) and the chorus and other members of the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) will resume later this week. Although the Met Management has announced a deadline for Sunday, August 17, after which, if there is no agreement, they will lock out the musicians, craftspeople and choristers, it is Local 802 and AGMA’s intention to continue to bargain in good faith until an agreement can be reached by both sides.

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- August 2, 2014

From Met Orchestra Musicians and Local 802, AFM regarding Met Opera negotiations:

New York, N.Y.—Saturday, August 2, 2014—At the request of the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), the Metropolitan Opera, Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, and the American Guild of Musical Artists have agreed to a process for continuing their discussions. It was recommended by the FMCS and all three parties have jointly agreed to retain an independent financial analyst to perform a due diligence financial study of the Met and to render a non-binding report to the parties to assist them in reaching new collective bargaining agreements. During this process the employees covered will continue to perform their regular assignments under the terms of their contracts, which expired at midnight July 31, 2014.

Eugene Keilin, a co-founder of KPS Capital Partners, LP has been retained for this purpose. Mr. Keilin was formerly a General Partner of Lazard Freres & Co. and Chairman of the Municipal Assistance Corporation for the City of New York.

FMCS Deputy Director Allison Beck and Commissioner Kathleen Murray-Cannon commend Metropolitan Opera General Manager, Peter Gelb, Local 802 President Tino Gagliardi, and AGMA Executive Director Alan Gordon for their cooperation and commitment to work with FMCS with the goal of reaching an agreement that is acceptable to the parties.

James Odom, President of the American Guild of Musical Artists states: “We are encouraged with this step forward that we believe will address the issues in contention and will ultimately lead to an agreement that is fair to everyone.”

Tino Gagliardi, President of the Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802 AFM adds: “We all look forward to a fair and independent analysis of the complex issues we have been contending with for months. This is a significant development.”

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- August 1, 2014

Met Opera Musicians Rally in Support of Musical Excellence at the Met and Preservation of Good Jobs in New York City’s
Cultural Sector

With Contract Extended for 72 Hours, Musicians Continue to
Negotiate in Good Faith

NYC Elected Officials Join Musicians in Calling on Opera Manager Peter Gelb to Remove Threat of Lockout and Extend Negotiations Until Agreement Reached

New York, N.Y.—Friday, August 1, 2014—This morning, the Met Orchestra and supporters rallied in Dante Park in front of Lincoln Center before resuming federally mediated negotiations under a 72-hour threat of lockout imposed by opera manager Peter Gelb. The musicians and other Met Opera artists and craftspeople, along with elected officials in NYC and the New York Times in an editorial, have called on Peter Gelb to continue negotiating in good faith and lift his threat of lockout, which Gelb has extended to 72-hours past the contract deadline expiring at midnight last night.

Prior to talks, Gelb had for months refused to provide essential information to allow negotiations to begin, then days before the start of scheduled discussions, sent a letter warning workers to prepare to be locked out and receive no pay or benefits after their contract expired August 1. This week, despite the union’s negotiating in good faith and agreeing to management’s offer of federal mediation, Gelb continues to threaten a lockout, which would harm families and imperil this year’s Met Opera season.

Said Tino Gagliardi, president of the Met Orchestra’ union, Local 802, AFM, “Peter Gelb should not be talking about a lockout at all. Last night he stated that this extension is a one-time gesture and that he will not offer any further extension if an agreement is not reached within 72 hours. We are negotiating rigorously, but given Gelb’s proposed draconian cuts and the delays by the Met in providing information necessary to start talks, working out a settlement will likely require more time…

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- August 1, 2014

With Contract Extended for 72 Hours, Met Musicians Continue to Negotiate in Good Faith

Opera Manager Peter Gelb Should Remove Threat of Lockout and Extend Negotiations Until Agreement Reached

New York, N.Y.—Friday, August 1, 2014-

Statement from Tino Gagliardi, president of the Met Orchestra’ union, Local 802, AFM:

“Peter Gelb announced that he will not declare a lockout tonight. That is a constructive move. However, he stated that this is a one-time gesture and that he will not offer any further extensions if an agreement is not reached within 72 hours. Settling this dispute in three days is highly unrealistic given Gelb’s proposed draconian cuts.

We will return to the bargaining table tomorrow, and we are prepared to do so every day after tomorrow if the mediation effort is proceeding in good faith. Why then would Mr. Gelb once again threaten a lockout if negotiations are moving forward? Declaring a lockout would gravely undermine the mediation process and make it extremely difficult to reach a successful outcome, especially in time to save the 2014-2015 season.

It is our hope that the mediated negotiations will finally yield transparency on the part of Met management, requiring it to prove why it needs upwards of $30 Million in cuts to address a deficit of $2.8 million. We also trust that the mediator will urge management to acknowledge its overspending and role in falling revenues. We also hope that the mediator requires the Met to give full and genuine consideration to the cost-saving suggestions offered by the musicians, totaling $37.8 Million, which includes concessions resulting in lower pay for workers, significantly reducing the Met’s labor costs.”

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- July 31, 2014

Met Musicians: Met Opera GM Peter Gelb Should Back Off Devastating Lockout Threats as Part of Federal Mediation Offer

Gelb should extend the current contract and continue talks without depriving musicians and families of income and health care and imperiling the upcoming Met Opera season

New York, NY–Thursday, July 31, 2014–During Met Opera negotiations on Wednesday, July 30, Met Opera management offered the option of bringing in a federal mediator to work toward an agreement. This, after months of stalling tactics on their part had pushed negotiations to just days before the current contract deadline. Last week, before negotiations even began, Gelb sent a letter to employees telling them to prepare to be locked out and receive no pay or benefits after their contract expires on August 1.

Said Associated Musicians of Greater New York Local 802 president Tino Gagliardi, “Management proposed federal mediation to Local 802. We are considering it, and we believe it would have a much greater chance of success if Peter Gelb would back off his lockout threats and extend the current contract.”

The musicians had hoped to pursue good-faith negotiations with opera management. Unfortunately, Gelb has pursued a calculated strategy to lock out his artists and craftspeople and put the upcoming Met Opera season in jeopardy. For months Gelb has purposely refused to provide essential financial information that would have allowed substantive, good faith negotiations to proceed, instead making erroneous claims in the press in the run-up to a long-planned lockout.

While base compensation has barely kept pace with inflation during Gelb’s tenure, the MET Opera budget has increased by nearly 50% ($105 Million), in large part due to overspending on unpopular new productions, poor scheduling, ineffective marketing and management waste. The MET Orchestra, which has won three consecutive Grammys and is considered the best opera orchestra in the world, is absolutely in favor of new and artistically daring productions. They believe that with well-chosen productions and expert management, the Met can live within its budget and present innovative grand opera while also offering competitive compensation to attract and retain the best musicians in the world.

The musicians have produced an extensive, detailed report on the Met Opera under the management and artistic direction of Peter Gelb. The report also notes the severe impacts of the cuts Gelb seeks, and concludes with the musicians’ suggestions for $37.8 Million in cost-savings for the Met Opera, including substantial savings to its labor budget. Gelb has dismissed all of the musicians’ proposals, including givebacks and concessions, seemingly in favor of a lockout.

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- July 29, 2014

MET Orchestra Musicians Release New Report: Identify Additional $1.2M in Savings for Met Opera, Bringing Total to $32.2M

Met Management and GM Peter Gelb refuse to negotiate on draconian cuts for artists and craftspeople; Threaten lockout

Musicians explain Met actions requiring making public case

New York, NY–Tuesday, July 29, 2014–The MET Orchestra Musicians love the Metropolitan Opera and want it to succeed. For 30 years they have had excellent labor relations, and had hoped that respectful exchange would continue.

This past Friday, July 25, the musicians and Local 802 made a detailed presentation in support of the union’s comprehensive proposals to the Met, detailing savings of over $30 Million. On Saturday, July 26, the Met responded to that presentation and did not accept any of Local 802’s proposals. Local 802 prepared a further response to the Met’s comments on the presentation. As it was being offered, the Met representatives indicated that they were not considering the presentation and would only entertain acceptance of the Met’s proposals made on February 26th. Met management has not changed any of those proposals.

The following link contains an updated presentation responding to the Met’s rebuttals, and proposing a further cost savings, to bring the total savings to $32.2 Million.

CLICK TO READ THE REVISED MUSICIAN’S REPORT. This document (which was presented to management on 2014-07-25) will remain posted online indefinitely, and will be a “living document.” It will be constantly updated with any necessary emendations and corrections, which the musicians will fully acknowledge and document.

The Met Musicians report also address the following points:

  • Met Musicians Support Innovation: We support new productions, but new productions premiered under Peter Gelb have been widely criticized by the press and have negatively affected box office returns. New productions under Peter Gelb are reviewed negatively over 60% of the time, while the MET Orchestra is reviewed positively over 80% of the time.
  • New productions that premiered under Peter Gelb have been poorly received by critics and the public: There is a direct correlation between negative critical reception and box office returns for revivals that were premiered under Peter Gelb. Increased ticket prices and an increased number of these revivals negatively impacted revenue.
  • Opera is not “Dying” as Mr. Gelb claims, but is in fact thriving at other opera houses: Other opera companies have recently shown success in ticket sales and fundraising. Their leaders believe in the future of the art form and value a commitment to artistic excellence.
  • Reductions in compensation would devastate the MET Orchestra’s ability to attract and retain top talent. The MET Orchestra works 30% more than its peers for similar wages. A decline in compensation would make the MET Orchestra a far less attractive destination for the world’s best musicians.
  • Peter Gelb has exploded the Met’s budget on productions that have not shown a good return on investment: Peter Gelb took a balanced budget and increased it by 50%. Three quarters of that increase came from Media, New Productions, and “Other.” The Met currently spends an average of over $1 million more on each new production, inflation-adjusted, than it did prior to Peter Gelb’s arrival.
  • The Excellence of the MET Orchestra is one of the Met’s Strongest Assets: The MET Orchestra has achieved extraordinary critical acclaim and garnered numerous awards. Reducing the investment in the orchestra, and the resulting increase in turnover, would have devastating effects on the artistic quality of the Metropolitan Opera.
  • The Met needs to address the real problems of artistic and financial Mismanagement: Cutting employee compensation does nothing to address the Met’s deeper problem of financial and artistic mismanagement.

The MET Orchestra Musicians’ Report is accompanied by a letter from Jessica Phillips Rieske, Clarinetist and Chair of the MET Orchestra Committee, explaining the timbre of negotiations and actions on the parts of Peter Gelb that have made it necessary to clarify facts and make their case in the public arena:

In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, the MET Orchestra Musicians wish to directly address the nature and format of these negotiations. We deeply regret that these contentious negotiations are taking place in such a public arena: for 34 years we have enjoyed labor peace, and all negotiations were conducted behind closed doors with a media blackout that all parties followed.

Peter Gelb made this negotiation different. Our Orchestra Committee received his initial proposals on Wednesday, February 26, 2014. On Thursday, February 27, 2014, the New York Times posted an article highlighting Mr. Gelb’s proposals. The article states that its sources for this information were “three people with knowledge of the proposal” who had requested anonymity. The union did not give this story to the New York Times. It was only when contacted for response that the union president stated “We’ve never received a set of proposals from the Met that represented such a devastating reduction in pay.” The “media blackout” was over before it could ever begin.

We now find ourselves in the position of having to make our case publicly, but we are nevertheless committed to doing it with the utmost accuracy and transparency….We hope that our data-driven approach to find solutions for the Metropolitan Opera will lead to an open opera house, a salvaged season, and a sustainable future for many decades.

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- July 25, 2014

Met Orchestra Musicians Detail Failed Management and Lack of Artistic Vision of Met Opera General Manager Peter Gelb

Musicians Propose $20 Million in Cost-Savings for the Met Opera

New York, NY–Friday, July 25, 2014–Local 802, American Federation of Musicians, and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra musicians today have commenced negotiations with Met Opera management including General Manager Peter Gelb. The union and the musicians released the attached report detailing the failed management and flawed artistic vision of Gelb during his 8-year tenure at the helm of the Met. The report analyzes the dismal reception of Gelb’s expensive new productions by opera critics and patrons and also recommends specific strategies the Met could employ to save $20 Million annually by curtailing Gelb’s lavish spending and realizing scheduling efficiencies.

Gelb has stated in the press that the Met is facing financial ruin and possible bankruptcy, while refusing to provide the musicians, the media or the public any evidence of such a crisis. He has announced that he must impose draconian cuts of over $30 Million, yet has refused to substantiate/document the reasons. No one yet knows why Gelb is asking for over $30 Million in cuts when his reported deficit is only $2.8 Million in the context of a $327 million annual budget.

What is known, however, is that under Gelb the Met’s labor costs have remained flat, while the Met Opera budget has increased by nearly 50% ($105 Million). This is in large part due to Gelb’s overspending on critically panned, unpopular productions, as well as poor scheduling, inferior marketing and extensive management waste. The musicians are in favor or new and artistically daring productions but want to see them managed expertly, whereby the Met is able to achieve artistic success while living within their budget.

Link to MET Orchestra/Local 802 findings on Peter Gelb’s record of managerial and artistic failure;Musicians’ recommendations on cost-saving efficiencies
for the Met Opera.

Even if—after an objective analysis—the Met can be said to be facing some degree of financial challenge, it is clear what the solution isn’t. It isn’t slashing the compensation of the world-class performers and other craftspeople on whom the Met’s excellence and success relies. If Gelb’s cuts were implemented it would be impossible for the Met to recruit and retain the best musicians in the world who today comprise the company. The quality of the Opera would rapidly deteriorate, and Gelb will have succeeded in further decimating the audience that already has been diminished by his failed productions.

The musicians had hoped to purse good-faith negotiations with opera management. Unfortunately, Gelb has pursued a cynical strategy calculated to result in a lockout of his artists and craftspeople and imperil the upcoming Met Opera season. For months, Gelb has purposely refused to provide essential financial information that would have allowed substantive, good-faith negotiations to proceed, instead making erroneous claims in the press in the run-up to his long-planned lockout. His callousness, combined with his attempt to cover up his failed management and lack of artistic vision that has resulted in declining audiences and plummeting ticket sales, jeopardizes the livelihoods of his employees and the many businesses in New York City’s cultural sector and the Lincoln Center area that depend on the Metropolitan Opera for their incomes.

The loss to the City’s economy as a result of a lockout will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars – first, the $327 million that the Met spends on salaries, sets, costumes and on many other vendors/services will be lost; on top of that, the losses to restaurants and hotels, especially those in the immediate vicinity of Lincoln Center, will be devastating given that the Met has 3,800 seats and its audience represents a high proportion of local restaurant and hotel patronage during the opera season.

The musicians believe the Met’s problems are solvable without a lockout and a cancelled season, which will be a major blow to New York City culture and disastrous for Opera’s financial health. They wish the Met to remain an engine of the cultural and tourism economy—and continue to thrill both the Met Opera’s loyal audience and the young people and non-traditional audiences who will carry this great art form into its next generation.

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- July 23, 2014

Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb Threatens Lockout, Cancellation of the 2014/2015 Opera Season;

Orchestra Musicians Denounce Gelb’s Long-Planned Lockout as a “Cynical strategy to cover up his failed management and lack of artistic vision”

New York, NY–Wednesday, July 23, 2014–Local 802, American Federation of Musicians, and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra musicians are dismayed that Peter Gelb has pursued a cynical strategy calculated to result in a lockout of his artists and craftspeople and imperil the upcoming Met Opera season. His callousness, combined with his attempt to cover up his failed management and lack of artistic vision that has resulted in declining audiences and plummeting ticket sales, jeopardizes the livelihoods of his employees and the many businesses in New York City’s cultural sector and the Lincoln Center area that depend on the Metropolitan Opera for their incomes.

For months, Gelb has purposely refused to provide essential financial information that would have allowed substantive, good-faith negotiations to proceed, instead making erroneous claims in the press in the run-up to his long-planned lockout.

If the Met in fact is facing financial difficulties it is due to Peter Gelb’s lavish overspending on productions that have been poorly received by critics and audiences. At the initial negotiating session scheduled for this Friday, July 25th, the musicians plan to propose ideas that would allow the Metropolitan Opera to realize over $20 Million in cost-savings and avoid draconian cuts to its artists. That Peter Gelb would announce the prospect of a lockout before the start of negotiations with the musicians, choristers, stagehands and other segments of the workforce is indicative of his disrespect for his audience, his artists and the City of New York.

The loss to the City’s economy as a result of a lockout will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars – first, the $327 million that the Met spends on salaries, sets, costumes and on many other vendors/services will be lost; on top of that, the losses to restaurants and hotels, especially those in the immediate vicinity of Lincoln Center, will be devastating given that the Met has 3,800 seats and its audience represents a high proportion of local restaurant and hotel patronage during the opera season.

Peter Gelb should engage in good-faith negotiations with the intent of salvaging the upcoming season rather than moving to arbitrarily shut down the iconic and beloved Metropolitan Opera.

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- June 23, 2014

STATEMENT FROM THE MUSICIANS OF THE METROPOLITAN OPERA ORCHESTRA REGARDING TODAY’S NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL

NEW YORK, NY—Monday, June 23, 2014—The MET Orchestra Musicians and Local 802, American Federation of Musicians, are deeply concerned about the future of the Metropolitan Opera. Regarding today’s editorial in the New York Times, the MET Orchestra would like to clarify a few important points:

  • The Met musicians are paid a competitive contract, a yearly salary that is commensurate with attracting and retaining the best players in the world. The musicians in fact do not have 16 weeks of vacation. Their guaranteed time off is equivalent to that of their peer orchestras (10 weeks), and is in part due to the recognition that they are at the disposal of the Met to perform 6 days a week during the season. Unutilized weeks are due to Peter Gelb’s unpopular and counter-productive decision to end the beloved weeks of free summer concerts in New York City’s parks, which musicians still wish to play (and besides being a wonderful amenity for New Yorkers and visitors are a proven vehicle to expand the opera audience), as well as Gelb’s termination of the practice of touring, which has been a part of the Met season since its inception and also develops tourist audiences for the Met.
  • Peter Gelb insists on citing an average salary number for musicians that has not been substantiated. The musicians and their legal team have been asking for months for the Met to provide figures showing where they are getting this average salary number, as well as the amount of stated benefits, but the Met has not provided it. We do not know if the Met provided proof to the Times, and we respectfully request that any press covering these matters ask Gelb for documentation to support this disputed figure. Furthermore, we ask that the press consider citing the median salary for the musicians, as this would more accurately represent what most musicians at the Met are paid – if you can get the data from management!
  • It is true, as the New York Times states, that The Met cannot continue on its present fiscal course. However, it is relevant to note that over Gelb’s tenure the cost of musician labor has risen only modestly (slightly above inflation), while the non-labor budget increased by 50% ($105 Million). As the musicians pointed out in their report to the Met Opera Board the revivals of Peter Gelb’s new productions, which have sold dismally, are pulling revenues down. In fact, when other opera houses around the world are thriving, there has been a 13% drop at the Met box office on Peter Gelb’s watch.
  • Given that last year the Met reported a $2.8 Million dollar deficit why does Gelb claim he needs $30 million in cuts (16%) to performers who are already being paid less than musicians in several other U.S. orchestras, in some cases in absolute dollars or, when calculating the cost-of-living to compensation ratio, less than their counterparts at most peer orchestras? Also, importantly, research conducted by the Orchestra indicates that the various cuts that Gelb has proposed actually constitute a reduction in compensation much greater than 16%, but in fact would constitute a 25-37% reduction in compensation.

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- June 20, 2014

LETTER TO THE METROPOLITAN OPERA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

June 17, 2014

We would like to share with you and the members of the Metropolitan Opera Managing Board of Directors the enclosed report. It presents our perspective on the current negotiations between the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra musicians and the Metropolitan Opera management for a new collective bargaining agreement. We hope this report sheds some light on information members of the Board may not be aware of.

As an orchestra, we rarely, if ever, address the Board. We want to take this chance to express our gratitude for all that you do for this great company. As performers, we hear the applause and feel the enthusiasm of our fans on a nightly basis. We are fully aware, however, that none of the magic that occurs in our theater would be possible without the commitment and generosity of our Board. We all hope that the Met can continue to thrive for many years to come. If you have any questions related to the information in this letter please do not hesitate to contact us directly for a more thorough presentation of these facts.

Sincerely,

Jessica-Phillips-Rieske-sig

 

 

 

Jessica Phillips Rieske, Chair
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Committee
www.metorchestramusicians.org

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- June 18, 2014

 

MET OPERA ORCHESTRA AND LOCAL 802 AFM RELEASE REPORT TO MET OPERA BOARD ASSERTING MISMANAGEMENT ON PART OF GENERAL MANAGER PETER GELB

NEW YORK, NY—Wednesday, June 18, 2014—The MET Orchestra Musicians are proud of their central role in sustaining the Metropolitan Opera as a world-class institution. The award-winning MET Orchestra’s global reputation as a top-tier ensemble is critical to New York City’s tourism and cultural economy. The MET musicians believe that well-presented opera is vibrant and thrillingly relevant to modern life.

Statement from Met Orchestra:

“The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra rejects Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb’s arguments that the Met’s recent financial troubles are the result of high labor costs. We believe that the Met’s financial problems are the direct result of a management which seems unable to accept that its current business model is failing, and unwilling to adapt to evidence that its current spending policies are irresponsible and unsustainable. During the Gelb years, the Met’s operating budget has increased by nearly 50 percent (over $105 million), and these new expenses have obviously not resulted in commensurate increases in revenue.

With regard to the Met’s stagnant box office, we also wholly reject Mr. Gelb’s often cited excuse that opera is a “dinosaur” and that its audience is dying and destined to further dwindle. We believe instead that the reason the Met’s box office has stagnated in spite of the huge sums spent on marketing and new productions is that Peter Gelb’s artistic choices have been badly received by both reviewers and audiences alike, which the attached report documents using box office data provided by the Met.

Even if after an objective analysis the Met can be said to be facing some degree of financial challenge (in large part due to Gelb’s lavish overspending on unpopular productions) we know what the solution isn’t. It isn’t slashing the compensation of the musicians and the chorus. If this happens, it will be impossible for the Met to recruit and retain the best musicians in the world, who, along with the chorus and other skilled labor comprising the company, are essential to maintaining its artistic excellence.

We believe that the Met is suffering from a crisis of management, both financial and artistic, whose guiding vision is limited by a fundamental belief that opera, the Met’s only real product, is increasingly irrelevant in today’s world. We don’t believe that a management struggling under those limitations is capable of leading the Met out of its current problems, let alone planning and working towards a future where opera and the Met once again thrive and prosper.”

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- May 12, 2014

 

MEMBERS OF THE METROPOLITAN OPERA ORCHESTRA VOTE TO AUTHORIZE FUTURE STRIKE IF CONTRACT TALKS FAIL

Local 802, American Federation of Musicians, and the MET Opera Orchestra Committee (the members’ negotiating committee), following receipt of devastating contract proposals from Metropolitan Opera management, today unanimously authorized the MET Opera Orchestra Committee to initiate (and subsequently terminate) a strike as it deems necessary. The vote today legally formalizes the option to go on strike should management’s intransigence warrant such an action. The musicians’ contract expires July 31.

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- May 10, 2014

 

METROPOLITAN OPERA ORCHESTRA INAUGURAL NEWSLETTER

Today, during La Cenerentola, the last HD Broadcast of the season, we wore buttons to promote not only our website, of which we are extraordinarily proud, but also ourselves!  Every day I have the honor and privilege to work with this amazing group of artists who are amongst the hardest-working musicians on the planet. Many of you have asked about the upcoming negotiations.  For the past 30 years, we have had peaceful labor relations with the Met Management.  It is our sincere hope that this will continue into the future and that we’ll be back in the pit making music for you next season.  We strive for excellence every day, not only for ourselves, but for you as well, because we believe that the world’s greatest art form and the world’s greatest opera fans deserve world-class musicianship. 

Warmest regards,



Jessica Phillips Rieske
Acting Principal Clarinet
Chair, MET Orchestra Musicians Committee

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