When one lockout ends, another begins? That’s the message coming from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, anyway. Officials representing the Metropolitan Opera (the Met) have announced that they are ready and willing to lock out unionized employees as early as tomorrow unless the parties can agree to a new collective bargaining agreement by midnight tonight. While there has been talk of the parties bringing in a federal mediator to aid in contract talks, such a move has yet to materialize.
The parties have been at odds for months, primarily because the Met has been running at about a $3million deficit and needs to cut costs. Those proposed cuts, of course, would likely impact worker salaries and benefits. The union has proposed that the parties engage in interest arbitration, but the Met has rejected the suggestion outright.
This would not be the first time that the fabled Opera house has locked out its employees. Large portions of both the 1969 and 1980 seasons were cancelled after the Met locked out union members during protracted labor negotiations.