AGMA Responds to Metropolitan Opera’s Lockout

By Francisco Salazar

AGMA has released a statement in response to the recent lockout by the Metropolitan Opera against Local One stagehands.

The Union said, “As an affiliate of the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds (COBUG), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local One stagehands do not stand alone in the lockout by the Metropolitan Opera. All of the affiliates – many of whom are facing the same draconian, long term wage and condition cuts from the Met Opera management – stand united with our sisters, brothers, and kin in Local One.”

“While workers are furloughed and waiting for live performances to safely return, the Metropolitan Opera has conditioned limited supplemental financial assistance on the unconscionable demand that workers accept 30 percent cuts in wages and less favorable working conditions, all of which would last well past the COVID-19 pandemic and the return of live performances. In addition, stagehands were told they must accept this “deal” or be locked out of their employment, despite already being furloughed and unemployed.”

The statement added that the “the Metropolitan Opera is using this pandemic to its own benefit to lower worker pay and eliminate conditions at work for perpetuity under the guise of short-term financial assistance that may not even last until performances can once again reopen.”

AGMA represents the performing artists and is the latest organization to release a statement following the Met Opera’s decision. The Met Orchestra recently released a statement in solidarity stating that “the Met management is exploiting this temporary situation to permanently gut contracts of the very workers who create the performances on their global stage, while disingenuously advertising lasting cuts as the only way forward.”

The Metropolitan Opera has been closed since March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is set to reopen in September of 2021. The company is currently presenting Met Stars Live in Concert and is set to present a New Year’s Eve event from Germany.