Met Opera stagehands to return to work after lockdown

Opera song

NEW YORK (AP) – Machinists at the Metropolitan Opera planned to return to work on Wednesday after recommending their union ratify a new labor contract negotiated following a lockout that began last year.

Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Employees (IATSE) said its full members would vote on July 18 on the deal reached last weekend.

“Following an overwhelming majority of the Met’s stage and workshop crew voting in favor of submitting a positive recommendation to the full membership to ratify the deal, the members of the Met ‘IATSE Local One should start working in opera from tomorrow,’ the union said in a statement Tuesday,

The machinists’ contract expired on July 31, and the union had been locked out since December 8. Negotiations resumed on June 7.

“Getting there has had to overcome grievances over the lockout of our members and come up with innovative solutions,” union president James J. Claffey said in a statement. “If the discussions had lasted longer, it might have been impossible to prepare the opera for an opening in September. This agreement allows the 2021-2022 opera season to start as planned.

The Met had contracted production of sets for several new sets next season to construction companies in Wales and the West Coast.

“We are delighted that our stagehands are returning to work immediately and that we have a clearer path to open our season as planned in September,” the Met said in a statement.

The Met struck a deal in May with the American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents the choir. His contract with Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, which represents the orchestra, expires July 31 and negotiations are ongoing.

The company has not performed since March 11, 2020, due to the pandemic, canceling 276 performances plus an international tour.

The Met has announced plans to resume with a requiem from Verdi on September 11 to mark the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The season kicks off September 27 with the Met premiere of Terence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones”.