Monday (12/5) on the New York Times blog ArtsBeat, Daniel J. Wakin reports, “New York City Opera announced on Monday that it was seeking the help of a federal mediator in a deadlock with the unions representing its chorus and orchestra. The company’s management declared an impasse last Thursday when the two sides were unable to come to terms on new contracts. City Opera has reduced its budget by nearly two thirds and has moved out of its Lincoln Center home to save money. It is seeking to pay the chorus members and musicians for each rehearsal and performance, with reduced health benefits, while the unions want to be compensated by the week and are seeking stronger guarantees of employment. A spokeswoman for the players, Gail Kruvand, a double bassist, said the orchestra’s union was discussing the matter. Alan S. Gordon, the executive director of the American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents the chorus and others, sounded skeptical about management’s mediation effort. … Risa Heller, a company spokeswoman, said, ‘We have always been open to mediation.’ She said that the unions wanted it during negotiations but that no mediator ended up being engaged.”

Posted December 6, 2011