The 3/15/2021 edition of the New York Times published an article by Julia Jacobs that reports on the beleaguered Metropolitan Opera’s efforts to wage labor war on multiple fronts. Spoiler: it’s no better than where it was a few months ago.
Having said that, there was one piece of news that should draw attention. Over the past year, 10 of the orchestra’s 97 members have retired.
At just a hair over 10%, that’s a substantial number, doubly so for an organization where the orchestra benefits more from experience and acclimation to demanding physical conditions than their symphonic cousins.
Jacob’s interviewed one of the retiring musicians, Jeremy McCoy, who served as assistant principal bass until his decision to leave. His reason for retiring early at 57 was simple.
“I don’t want to go back to big concessions and to a toxic environment,” he said.
Unlike the comics, a toxic environment doesn’t produce superheroes.
Imagine how awful a work environment must be if it’s driving away the most experienced well-paid life-long employees in key leadership positions. Would you want to go to a hospital where 10% of their senior surgeons are bailing out?
While the Met’s executive leadership may be weighing what they are paying to get the upper hand in labor relations, they may want to spend a little more time thinking about the actual cost.