Life Mimics Art as Friday Lockout Looms for Metropolitan Opera

Article ID: 621293

Released: 29-Jul-2014 1:00 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: Cornell University

Expert Pitch

Newswise — The clock is ticking on the threatened lockout at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, if management and labor at the opera house fail to strike a deal with unions representing employees ranging from actors to ushers. Lois Spier Gray, labor management expert and professor of Labor Management Relations emeritus at Cornell University’s ILR School in Manhattan, predicts the high cost of a lockout will preclude an indefinite shutdown of the Met.

Gray says:

“The Met aims for substantial and unprecedented give backs in terms of worker take-home pay, pensions and cost of health benefits. The unions are representing performers and skilled crews who are difficult to replace, which strengthens their bargaining power.

“In most labor disputes, compromises are made by both sides. In 2007, similar demands by theater owners shut down Broadway, and ultimately resulted in small concessions by the unions – but the tactic was not effective in achieving the results originally sought by the owners.

“Since it is highly unlikely that the management and board of directors of the Met are prepared for an indefinite shutdown or going out of business, like City Opera, the outcome of a lockout at the Met will probably resemble the Broadway scenario.”


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