Thinking About The Better Part Of Valor

Assuming The Metropolitan Opera doesn’t settle the ongoing labor dispute with Musicians beforehand, July 18 may be the earliest date for details to emerge about the recent tentative agreement between the employer and IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees).

July 18 is the date IATSE members plan to hold their ratification meeting so it’s reasonable to assume that will be the earliest we can expect to see reliable details about the agreement’s terms.

Met General Director, Peter Gelb, has a history of playing one union against another and with only one large group unresolved, Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) which represents the orchestra musicians, it will be interesting to see if he sticks to that playbook or decides that a most favored nations approach is the better part of valor as it were.

In English, that means if the terms for the two settled agreements (singers and stagehands) are similar in nature, then the offer to musicians should follow suit. If it doesn’t, it should come as no surprise if things get even uglier.

You can see why July 18 becomes an important date and in the best-case scenario, that discovery could help facilitate a quick close to the musicians’ agreement.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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