Deep salary cut demands, which its unions say are unjustified, and a company threat to close down at least temporarily, are combining to force members of the 16 unions at New York City’s Metropolitan Opera to plan to strike.
Contracts will be expiring July 31.
One Met union, the American Guild of Musical Artists, is warning its members the Met may lock workers out if it doesn’t get its way.
Met General Manager Peter Gelb demands $180 million in pay cuts from the unions, Musicians Local 802
Gelb says the $180 million equals a 16 percent pay cut. In radio interviews, he portrays the unions as refusing to give back even a penny of pay. And the Guardian reported another Gelb threat: That the Met would have to file for bankruptcy protection within three years unless it got its way
The unions reply they’re willing to sit down with Gelb to discuss cost-cutting measures. The Met ran a $2.8 million deficit last year, on a $311 million budget. But they say cuts can easily occur elsewhere.
This is only the latest in the troubling situation in live music in the US. The Metropolitan Opera is the most influential in the world today. It many syndicated works are shown throughout the country in movie theaters country-wide.
Its orchestra is certainly one of the best in the US, if not the entire world. The best instrumentalists, all woodwinds , make their living playing in this great orchestra.With the Philadelphia Orchestra filing for bankruptcy, and the continuing deficit situation in many US orchestras, the future for all musicians wishing to work in a professional situation is indeed bleak .
The burgeoning numbers of instrumentalists does not abate, the Graduate Schools continue to pour out superb players.
So, perhaps a bit of advice from an aging clarinetist may be in order. Consider well the advantages of playing in a great orchestra, and weigh the situation against raising a family, touring, and existing in a lessor organization, where your enormous body of work may turn into sheer frustration and even poverty. There are many avenues available within the business and beauty of music.
I share your sorrow at learning almost daily, of orchestras having to cut back, literally hundreds of clarinetists auditioning for very few available positions. You are gifted and you should be able to exist well in our world.
Stay alert, keep practicing and the very best of good luck in your pursuits.