NY's Met Opera, two unions reach tentative deal to avert lockout

Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:20am EDT

Union orchestra musicians of New York's Metropolitan Opera perform as they attend a rally with chorus members and others near Lincoln Center in New York City, August 1, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Union orchestra musicians of New York's Metropolitan Opera perform as they attend a rally with chorus members and others near Lincoln Center in New York City, August 1, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

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(Reuters) - New York's Metropolitan Opera reached tentative contract agreements on Monday with unions representing its orchestra and chorus, federal mediators said, after tense negotiations that had threatened to derail the new season due to open next month.

"These were difficult and highly complex negotiations, and I wish to commend the parties for their resolve in addressing multiple and complex issues," said Allison Beck, deputy director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

The agreements with Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, which represents the orchestra, and the American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents the chorus, were reached "after many hours of intense negotiations," Beck said. The terms were not disclosed.

"We are grateful for their commitment to the collective bargaining process and grateful most of all that the Metropolitan Opera, one of the world's premier cultural institutions, will continue providing outstanding operas for all to enjoy," Beck said.

The deadline for contract negotiations with other unionized employees was extended through midnight on Tuesday, Met spokesman Sam Neuman said in a statement.

The Met, which is the largest performing arts organization in the United States, had said it would lock out its orchestra, chorus, stagehands and other employees if new agreements could not be reached.

The contract negotiations were the most contentious at the Met since a lockout in 1980.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Susan Heavey)

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