The management of The Metropolitan Opera and AGMA – the union that represents most of its employees – have publicly clashed over proposed pay cuts.
The Met has offered furloughed staff partial paycheques if they agree to long-term pay cuts. Pay would initially be cut by 30%. The long-term cut would be 15%. At present over 1,000 staff have been furloughed without pay since April.
AGMA said its members cannot accept such a position, which it described as “selling out the future for short-term relief.”
The proposal was discussed in a Zoom call between Met general manager Peter Gelb and staff on 20 November.
“For the Met to get back on its feet, we’re all going to have to make financial concessions and sacrifices,” said Gelb.
AGMA responded: “Throughout this crisis, Met management has talked at length about the challenges facing the Met while barely speaking a word about the challenges facing its artists.”
They added that The Met has yet to pay some staff for work in the 2019-20 season: “How can we accept the Met’s proposition for limited pay this season in exchange for long term cuts when they still haven’t been paid everything they are owed for last year?”
The AGMA statement concluded: “AGMA remains open to working with Met management but our members, who have built the Met over generations, have no interest in selling out the future for short-term relief.”
The Met has been closed since April, and estimates it has lost around USD150m (€126m) due to the shutdown.