Met Opera deal cuts solo singer fees by up to 12.7%
NEW YORK – The Metropolitan Opera is reportedly able to cut fees for its highest-paid individual singers by 12.7% under an ongoing four-year contract with the American Guild of Musical Artists.
The deal cuts fee contracts below $ 6,000 per performance by 6%, with reductions increasing to 8% for $ 6,000 to $ 9,999, 9% for $ 10,000 to $ 11,999, 9.5% from 12,000 USD to $ 13,999 and the maximum reduction for over $ 13,999. The reductions would end on July 31, 2024.
The contract provides for a 3.7% reduction for all groups except soloists per performance – which covers the Met Chorus – of which 2.7% is temporary and will be reinstated on July 31, 2025. The remaining 1% would serve to pay the AGMA economic elements.
“For the Met to reopen in September, it is important that AGMA members ratify this agreement,” the Met said in a statement.
The guild said these cuts were only a small part of the overall deal and highlighted what they gained in the overall deal.
“Considering what the Met was originally looking for in concessions, which were roughly 30% off, this tentative deal was the best resolution for all of our members,” said Leonard Egert, National Executive Director of the United States on Wednesday. ‘AGMA. “We have found a way to minimize the impact of these proposals for drastic wage cuts by working creatively to find savings elsewhere.”
Met chief executive Peter Gelb said savings were needed as the company planned to resume performance in September after missing the final two months of 2019-20 and this entire season due to the pandemic.
Oroposa was furious.
“Is that why my union spent over 12 weeks negotiating?” Unequal pay cuts? Once again the soloists are being left behind, ”Oropesa wrote in a Facebook comment in which she vowed to vote against the deal. “How is that fair? … Soloists take more risk, more pressure, more expense, more potential losses and more burdens than any other group represented by this “union”. Yet we all pay the same membership fee, and non-American soloists pay even more, because of massive visa fees and reinstatement fees. It is an unfair negotiation. “
Oropesa declined to comment on her posts, spokesman Steven Harris said.
The full-time Met choir will drop from 80 to 74 – its level now after attrition during the pandemic – with a position returning at the end of the contract.
Soloists will receive all of their rehearsal costs upon arrival, instead of the old structure in which they received remuneration only on the evenings of each performance.
“We were successful in securing a seat on the Met Advisory Board in an attempt to break the wall between donors and artists,” said Sam Wheeler, AGMA’s advisor for the East. “For almost all of the groups, we’ve improved things like hearing procedures, notification schedules.”
The agreement with the AGMA covers choristers, soloists, dancers, directors, assistant directors, stage managers and performers. About 400 will vote on June 3 to ratify the deal, which would replace a current contract that expires on July 31.
A long diversity deal called on the Met to “expand the circulation of advertisements in a way that makes it easier to recruit candidates from groups traditionally under-represented at the Metropolitan Opera and the opera industry,” and called on the company “To post employment opportunities at a wider range of outlets than in the past,” including historically black colleges and universities.
In an art form where some singers have been criticized by directors for their weight, the agreement states that “except where there is a significant cost factor or artistic decision based on the role, the casting will not be based on the role. body type or suitability / fit. “
The Met is also negotiating with Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, which represents the orchestra and whose contract expires July 31. The company locked down Local 1 of the International Theater Employees Alliance, which represents its stagehands, on December 8. and said he was exploring the use of outside workers to begin construction of sets for new productions next season.
The AGMA agreement gives it the right to renegotiate if the musicians or stagehands get on better terms.
Unions and their members complained when the Met stopped paying employees on March 31 of last year, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Met said at the time that it continued to receive benefits, but could not afford to pay union employees without the income from the shows.
These are the three biggest contracts. but the Met also has several union agreements that expired last summer and others that expire this summer.