Metropolitan Opera sets deadline of Sunday for union negotiations

Metropolitan Opera sets new deadline of Sunday for negotiations

The Metropolitan Opera has set a new deadline of Sunday for union negotiations to conclude, according to an announcement from the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. The Met has been locked in contentious discussions with several of its unions as company leaders have sought to cut expenses at a time of significant financial hardship for the venerated New York institution.  

A financial study of the Met by an independent analyst is nearing completion, the announcement said. Eugene Keilin was brought in earlier this month to conduct the study and to report back to various parties involved in the discussions.

The Met had been in negotiations with 15 unions but reached an agreement with three of them last week. The company is in talks with two of its key unions -- one representing orchestral musicians and another representing stage artists.

Talks with the two unions are expected to resume sometime this week, according to the mediation service.

A statement on Monday from the musicians' union, Local 802, said both unions have the "intention to continue to bargain in good faith until an agreement can be reached by both sides."

At the center of the dispute are proposed budget reductions put forward by Met general manager Peter Gelb, who has said that the opera needs to control costs. Union leaders have balked, with some saying that Gelb has overspent on lavish productions.

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