Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

The Met Negotiations

 Apocalypse Later

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The author of Apocalypse Later speculates that Mr. Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Metropolitan opera exaggerated the financial need of the company as a negotiating tactic with the unions. This is presumed because the agreements that were made were no where near as drastic as Mr. Gelb made them sound like the needed to be in order for the Met to survive another few years. Instead of major cuts in union wages and compensation, there are only minor decreases that are scheduled to shrink over time. So what happened to Mr. Gelb’s proclamation, “No cuts means no Met”?

It is possible that during negotiations Mr. Gelb saw alternative ways of cutting costs (i.e. reduce production costs), which allowed him to soften the blow toward the unions. Or as the author of this author suggested, its possible that he did not plan his “attack” properly and exaggerated the need of the company and as a result he now looks like a liar. Whatever the case is, the situation indicates how delicate managing budgets can be; Art Managers needs to be conscious of what they are negotiating for and their tactics especially when they are dealing with the livelihood of their workforce.

As an AGMA member who has experienced cuts in compensation, I applaud the union reps for fighting for their paycheck.

 

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One comment on “The Met Negotiations

  1. Jenni
    September 1, 2014

    Wow! If ever there was an example of misguided tactics and negotiating skills, I think this is it. While, I personally don’t think he needed to stick to every rigid line of his original demands, he seriously undercut his role as a leader, and I would think he instilled his constituents with doubt in his ability to lead. I think it was right and certainly called for that “Mr. Gelb yielded to the unions’ demand that he hire an independent financial analyst to monitor spending across the board.” If he was so adamantly concerned about spending, but bent so easily to their demands, his credibility is shot. And I agree with the author when he says that if Mr. Gelb “says it all again in four years, nobody will believe him—nor should they.”

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