Metropolitan Opera

For several months, the Metropolitan Opera was engulfed in a trench war which brought the world-famous opera house to the verge of a collaps. The feud was over new contracts for orchestra musicians, chorus members, stage hands and other employees at the Met. Contracts with orchestras and opera houses in the United States must be renewed every few years. However, the new terms suggested by the Met to their employees in the spring left unions utterly unhappy because management proposed pay cuts of up to 17 percent in order to cover financial deficits. When the old contracts expired on July 31, the negotiations between management and unions continued, but the fear of failure grew. Now, at good last, the parties have come to an agreement, and they found out that if you barter over contracts, it's not only what you say but also how you say it. Georg Hirsch has the story.

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