THURS. 5/13 Hundreds of Met Opera artists and stagehands to hold protest in front of Lincoln Center
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 01:06 pm EDT 05/11/21

On the Lincoln Center Plaza sidewalk at NOON, MAY 13 the Met Opera's workers will send this message...

The noon rally in front of Lincoln Center Plaza Thursday will feature locked out stagehands, backstage workers, musicians, opera singers and supporters of the Metropolitan Opera

NEW YORK – The performing arts are returning -- but not the Metropolitan Opera. On Thursday, May 13 at noon, hundreds of the Met Opera's artists and backstage workers, joined by government leaders and supporters of labor and opera, will send a message that the famed opera company's management needs to stop its unfair treatment of its workforce and end its lockout of stagehands—or there will be no 2020-2021 opera season.

WHO: "We Are the Met Rally" includes artists, stagehands, backstage workers, opera supporters, state and local elected leaders

WHAT: Rally and performances focusing on the Met Opera's unfair treatment of workers, lockout of stagehands and the outsourcing overseas of the work of the Met Opera's musicians and skilled craftspeople

WHEN/WHERE: Noon, Thurs., May 13, sidewalk in front of Lincoln Center Plaza, Broadway at 63rd Street (risers and press section available for media)

The Metropolitan Opera's management has used COVID-19 as leverage to seek long-term, take-it-or-leave-it 30-percent wage cuts for all of the opera company's unionized employees, including stagehands, opera singers and musicians. The cuts are to remain in effect long after audiences return to their seats.

The Met Opera, with roughly 3,000 workers, is the largest performing arts organization in the United States. In December, the Met Opera's management locked out 350 stagehands and others represented by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE Local One).

The Met Opera is the only arts company in America that has locked out its workers during the pandemic.

"Peter Gelb, the Met's general manger, and his board, have been making non-negotiable demands, cruelly inflicting harm on our members already hurt by the pandemic," said James J. Claffey Jr., president of IATSE Local One. "This is shameful behavior and must end to avert a real opera tragedy."

The New York Times and The American Prospect have documented that the Met Opera has sent production work to a company in Wales for two operas, Rigoletto and Don Carlos, that would normally be done by American workers in New York. Sets for the season premier, Fire Shut up in my Bones, have been sent to a non-union production operation on the west coast. The Met Opera also has outsourced the work of musicians for online performances.

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In addition to the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the We Are the Met Rally is co-sponsored by other unions representing Met Opera workers including The American Federation of Musicians Local 802, the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 817, Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ. IATSE local unions representing the Metropolitan Opera's artistic and technical workers include: Local 1 represents skilled craftspeople who are experts in carpentry, lighting, sound, props, and set and building construction. Local 764 includes costume shop employees who create the costumes, and dressers who assist the performers with their costumes. Local 751 is comprised of the workers who most frequently interact with the public – box-office employees such as treasurers and ticket sellers. Local 798 includes the artists responsible for hair and makeup. Local 794 represents technicians involved in the Met's live broadcasts. USA 829 represents scenic artists as well as the designers of sets, lighting, costumes and sound.

Please Note: All rally participants are asked to wear masks.

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