Met Opera’s 2021-22 Season May be in Peril Due to Continued Lockdown & Failed Negotiations, States IATSE

By David Salazar

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees has issued a statement noting that the Metropolitan Opera’s 2021-22 season is in peril “unless the Met’s management returns to the bargaining table and treats workers fairly.”

This statement comes in response to the Met Opera’s lockout of IATSE members. Per a press release, Met Opera general manager Peter Gelb has asked IATSE members to take a 30 percent take-it-or-leave-it pay cut that would remain in effect even after the pandemic comes to an end.

Among the members of 800 IATSE working at the Met are stagehands, ticket sellers, costumers, lighting designers and technicians, set designers, and make-up artists, and other Met employees.

“Very few people were working at The Met in this period, barely affecting the bottom line,” said IATSE International President Matt Loeb in a press statement. “Gelb is cruelly and cynically using the COVID-19 crisis as leverage to stab his workers in the back, cutting off their wages and healthcare payments during the pandemic and putting the future of the opera company in jeopardy.”

The Union is also launching a lobbying effort in Washington, Albany, and New York to ask lawmakers to bar the Met Opera from stimulus or arts funds; the effort would exclude other arts institutions that have locked out employees from having access to similar funds.

Finally, the press release notes that the Met has “rumored plans” to outsource set-design works to shops in Russia and other countries.

OperaWire has reached out to the Met Opera for comment and will update this article accordingly if a response is received.

The Metropolitan Opera is also currently undergoing contentious negotiations with members of its orchestra.

Here is the full statement from IATSE.