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NYC's Met opera reaches deals with 2 unions

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 18, 2014 at 1:33 pm •  Published: August 18, 2014
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NEW YORK (AP) — New York's Metropolitan Opera reached tentative labor deals with two of its largest unions early Monday while negotiations continued with 10 more unions in hopes of averting a lockout.

The federal Mediation and Conciliation Service announced the agreements with Local 802 of the musicians' union and with the American Guild of Musical Artists, its orchestra and chorus. Details of the agreements were not released.

A spokesman for the Met said the contract deadline has been extended through midnight Tuesday with the remaining unions.

The Met had set a deadline of midnight Sunday. A lockout could threaten the opera's season, scheduled to start Sept. 22.

Allison Beck, deputy director of the mediation service, thanked Met General Manager Peter Gelb and the leaders of the two unions that settled Monday.

"We are grateful for their commitment to the collective bargaining process and grateful most of all that the Metropolitan Opera, one of the world's premier cultural institutions, will continue providing outstanding operas for all to enjoy," she said in a statement.

Gelb had demanded pay cuts of about 17 percent, saying production costs had skyrocketed and the operatic art was in trouble, with shrinking audiences. Union members said such a radical move was unwarranted, given the Met's $2.8 million deficit on a budget of $326 million. The Met management also wanted to slash pensions and health care benefits.

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