Gelb climbs down, opens books, calls in auditormain
Overnight statements from both sides in the Metropolitan Opera dispute are encouraging and conciliatory.
Talks with the federal mediators have been extended by an extra week, the immediate lockout threat has been suspended and ‘all three parties have jointly agreed to retain an independent financial analyst to perform a due diligence financial study of the Met.’
The Met called the move ‘an effort to help all parties reach new contractual agreements’.
The auditor, Eugene Keilin (2nd r. on panel), worked for the City of New York during the 1975 financial crisis.
His entry signifies a considerable concession by Peter Gelb, the Met manager, who has refused the unions access to financial data until now. By suspending the lockout for another week, Gelb has all but abandoned his hardline demands that staff must accept a wage cut or face an immediate work stoppage.
The unions agreed to observe social media silence after a campaign that successfully undermined the Met’s obduracy. Members have been told: ‘At the request of the Federal Mediators, we now ask that you please refrain from posting anything on social media.’
Here’s a statement from the musicians:
New York, NY–Saturday, August 2, 2014–At the request of the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), the Metropolitan Opera, Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, and the American Guild of Musical Artists have agreed to a process for continuing their discussions. It was recommended by the FMCS and all three parties have jointly agreed to retain an independent financial analyst to perform a due diligence financial study of the Met and to render a non-binding report to the parties to assist them in reaching new collective bargaining agreements. During this process the employees covered will continue to perform their regular assignments under the terms of their contracts, which expired at midnight July 31, 2014.
Eugene Keilin, a co-founder of KPS Capital Partners, LP has been retained for this purpose. Mr. Keilin was formerly a General Partner of Lazard Freres & Co. and Chairman of the Municipal Assistance Corporation for the City of New York.
FMCS Deputy Director Allison Beck and Commissioner Kathleen Murray-Cannon commend Metropolitan Opera General Manager, Peter Gelb, Local 802 President Tino Gagliardi, and AGMA Executive Director Alan Gordon for their cooperation and commitment to work with FMCS with the goal of reaching an agreement that is acceptable to the parties.
James Odom, President of the American Guild of Musical Artists states: “We are encouraged with this step forward that we believe will address the issues in contention and will ultimately lead to an agreement that is fair to everyone.”
Tino Gagliardi, President of the Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802 AFM adds: “We all look forward to a fair and independent analysis of the complex issues we have been contending with for months. This is a significant development.”