Metropolitan Opera Offers Furloughed Employees Financial Relief in Exchange for Long-Term Paycuts

By David Salazar

The Metropolitan Opera is looking to make a deal with its furloughed employees in exchange for long-term concessions.

Per The New York Times, the company is offering to pay many of the 1,000 full-time employees who have been furloughed without pay since April up to $1,500 per week in exchange for new union contracts. Per the report, these contracts would include long-term 30 percent pay cuts.

The report adds that Met Opera general manager Peter Gelb believes that the COVID-19 pandemic is set to create box office difficulties for the organization for several years and that a recent study noted that New York City is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic tourism levels until 2025.

However, the unions are not necessarily onboard with this approach. Len Egert, the executive director of the American Guild of Musical Artists (representatives for the Met Opera’s choristers, stage directors, dancers, soloists, stage managers, actors, and choreographers) stated that, “The Met’s opportunistic approach seeks to permanently gut our contract way beyond the end of this crisis.”

The Met Opera has lost over $150 million due to the shutdown and has canceled its entire 2020-21 season. The company is projecting a box office revenue of $49 million in the fall of 2021, a drop from the $88 million the company made in the 2019-20 season, which ended in March due to the spread of COVID-19.