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To: Peter Gelb, General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City & Metropolitan Opera Board

Save the Met Opera

Friends, thanks to your unwavering support, we saved the Metropolitan Opera! Final union agreements were reached on August 21st while staying true to our message: We tightened our belts, and the Met Opera management cut up their credit cards.

We are proud of IATSE members for their bravery in the face of potential lockout – and we are also humbled by your immense support for the Save the Met Opera campaign. Thank you!

The 2014-2015 season kicks off on September 22nd with a new production of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and will include 221 performances of 26 operas in six new productions and 18 revivals.

Learn more about the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the union behind the scenes of the Met Opera, by visiting our website (, Facebook page (, and Twitter (

Save the Met Opera

With contract negotiations coming up for the men and women who work behind the scenes at the Metropolitan Opera, General Manager Peter Gelb has refused to compromise and wants to cut workers wages by 16%, as well as benefits. He has said that expenses have “become ruinous and that employees must accept cuts.” [1]

Both sides need to compromise on real cuts, which the workers are willing to do. But they cannot do it in good faith if Gelb is unwilling to provide the financials for the Met’s budget, and continues to blame the workers for costly productions and a rigorous work schedule for new productions.

Contracts will expire on August 1st, 2014, meaning that Gelb may lock out the Met Opera employees. But even if workers agreed to all of his demands, it’s not a long-term solution. The Met can’t keep going if management doesn't fix their spending problem.
We love the Met, we love opera, and we want to save both.

Help us tell Peter Gelb that he needs to focus on long-term solutions, not punishing the backstage stars of the Met for his poor spending decisions.

Why is this important?

Since Peter Gelb became General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera in 2006, he has pushed for sweeping production changes that are radically altering the scope and cost of operations. He has a record-high of new productions that require more labor and hours; HD productions require more expensive and detailed visuals; and extravagant opera productions are driving costs up. This effectively puts the Met on the road to a financial crisis, albeit with good intentions.

Many of the men and women who work behind the scenes at the Metropolitan Opera are the most talented in their professions. Six local unions of the IATSE represent backstage employees at the Met, all of whom have made the Opera their life’s work:

• Local 1 represents skilled craftsmen who are experts with carpentry, lighting, sound, props, set and building construction.

• Local 764 includes costume shop employees who create the costumes, along with dressers who assist the performers with their costumes.

• Local 751 are the workers who most frequently interact with the public, box office employees such as Treasurers and Ticket Sellers.

• Local 798 are the artists responsible for hair and makeup.

• Local 794 represents technicians involved in the Met’s live broadcasts.

• USA 829 (Designers and Scenic Artists) represents painters as well as the designers of sets, lighting, costumes, and sound.

Help save the Metropolitan Opera: Tell Peter Gelb that cutting worker’s wages and benefits is not a long-term solution to a financial crisis caused by management’s wildly costly new vision. Blaming the backstage stars that make the Met run, without compromising on his own values, is not the sign of a good leader.


Reasons for signing

  • Save the met opera
  • People matter, music matters; together they matter more than we can imagine
  • The last time I worked at the Met was in 2005. I carved 3 over life-sized sculptures for the Russian Opera "Mazeppa". The floor was crowded with furniture so I asked to have it moved so there'd be more room to work. A co-worker whispered that it couldn't be done because the furniture was being built "on the QT" for none other than the Met's Director, Peter Gelb. This is the guy who promised to put an end to "personal home projects" built at the expense of the Metropolitan Opera.


2017-06-20 12:33:09 -0400

Petition is successful with 7,839 signatures

2014-11-06 16:25:04 -0500

Petition is successful with 7,830 signatures

2014-08-25 16:17:40 -0400

Petition is successful with 7,820 signatures

2014-08-20 10:51:33 -0400

IATSE President Matthew Loeb announces that a tentative agreement has been reached. The agreement includes mandatory cost reductions from management and an independent monitor to track budget performance, offering a way to get the Met on a track for success. Read more:

2014-07-20 14:03:41 -0400

5,000 signatures reached

2014-07-08 18:42:46 -0400

1,000 signatures reached

2014-07-08 17:12:57 -0400

500 signatures reached

2014-07-08 16:40:17 -0400

100 signatures reached

2014-07-08 16:37:29 -0400

50 signatures reached

2014-07-08 16:34:55 -0400

25 signatures reached

2014-07-08 16:34:01 -0400

10 signatures reached