The Met Reaches an Agreement with Unions to Begin Sunday Matinees
For the first time in the history of the Met, Sunday matinees will become part of the weekly performance schedule, it was announced today as part of the recent agreement with the Met's musicians and chorus that was ratified today. The Met's management and representatives of two of its largest union groups, the Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802 (orchestra, music staff, librarians), and the American Guild of Musical Artists (chorus, singers, dancers, stage staff, staff performers), reached this landmark agreement for a new contract after a summer of bargaining. The agreement is still subject to ratification by the AGMA Board of Governors next week.
The Sunday matinee performances will start next season in the fall of 2019. Additionally, beginning with the season following that in 2020, there will be a further restructuring of the performance schedule to allow a mid-winter break in the performance schedule. The Met will shift performances from February, traditionally a period when less people attend the opera, to later in the spring, a period more appealing to audiences. Instead of concluding in mid-May, future seasons will end in mid-June.
Peter Gelb, Met General Manager, said "This was a successful outcome for all parties. Sunday matinees and the future realignment of the season will ensure the ongoing success of the Met. We're grateful to our company members for recognizing and accepting these important changes."
The agreement includes a 3% wage increase and a modest pension enhancement. At the same time it was also agreed that employees will begin to make contributions to the costs of the Met's health insurance benefits program, representing a significant saving for the company.
The Met's management continues to negotiate with representatives of other union groups whose contacts expired at the end of July; Local 764 (wardrobe, costume), Local 798 (wigs, makeup), and Local 751 (box office).
Photo: A scene from Act II of Puccini's "La Bohème." Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera