A few weeks back, the Metropolitan Opera locked out hundreds of its workers, using the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse to leverage its workforce into unfair concessions, specifically a 30% pay cut, an offer that was quickly rejected in December. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE Local One), which represents 350 of the 800 IATSE members who work at the Met, has stepped in to support the workers who have been protesting at New York’s Lincoln Center against the Met’s actions.
The national IATSE has now launched an interactive “Virtual Picket Line” where people who can’t make it to Lincoln Center themselves can still join the protest.
From IATSE’s press release: “In recent weeks, hundreds of members and allies of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the union representing the Metropolitan Opera’s stagehands and skilled craftspeople, gathered in person in front of Lincoln Center to protest the opera company locking out its workers. Now, the union is taking the fight online with the images of hundreds more in a first-of-its-kind interactive virtual picket line.”
“Taking part in this electronic demonstration, which can be seen at MetOperaPicketLine.com, are stagehands, costumer and wardrobe employees, lighting designers and technicians, set designers and craftsmen, make-up artists, broadcast technicians and ticket sellers, along with other supporters, including many opera fans.”
IATSE’s Director of Communications Jonas Loeb said in a statement, “Met Opera workers have a tremendous community standing beside them in solidarity, and our digital capabilities allow us to showcase that 24 hours a day, all across the world. If bosses like Met General Manager Peter Gelb are going to use an unprecedented pandemic as an excuse to reach into workers’ pockets and undercut their livelihood, we will respond with equally unprecedented and innovative digital tactics.”
Once photos of supporters are uploaded, they are scrolled in front of an image of Lincoln Center, home of the famed opera company. “This was set up to be as easy as possible for anyone to participate in. Head to the site, submit a photo and you’re on the line. It’s that simple,” Loeb added.
You can join the MetOperaPicketLine here.