Salary increase postponed for union

The Metropolitan Opera and stagehands’ union Local One have struck a deal, postponing a promised salary increase this summer in exchange for an extra year on the current contract, with the raise to come a year from now.

Met general manager Peter Gelb, who has worked to boost the opera’s profile through attention-getting initiatives including a popular series of cinema transmissions, had earlier stated that he hoped to get a 10% salary reduction out of the union in order to help manage costs during tough economic times.

Local One, topped by James J. Claffey Jr., argued for a salary freeze versus a cut.

In the contract originally set to expire July 31, 2010, union members were slated to get a 2.5% raise along with a .5% benefit boost on Aug. 1.

Under the new deal, the raise has been pushed back a year and the benefit increase kicks in Jan. 1. The contract has been extended through July 31, 2011.

Deal allows the Met some cost relief on the production side while avoiding any diminishment of pay for union members.

The union, which in 2007 called a Broadway strike that shut down the majority of Main Stem productions for more than two weeks, voted 2 to 1 in favor of the contract modification.

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