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Mediator orders financial review of opera's records

The mediation process is one that can be used to resolve a variety of types of disputes. Sometimes it is used to resolve a business dispute. Other times it can be used in employment matters. A famous east coast opera has turned to mediation to resolve a contract dispute with musicians, most of whose contracts expired on July 31, 2014.

The parties are having difficulty reaching an agreement because the opera’s general manager has sought to cut pay and pensions by 17 percent. The reason he cited for the over $30 million cut in work contracts is that the Met is experiencing financial difficulties. The union asserts that those cuts are punitive and fail to address other spending issues.

Though the opera has threatened a lockout, so far it has not gone in that direction. Rather the lockout deadline has been extended three times. During those extensions a federal mediator was brought in. She sought an independent reviewer to look into the opera’s financial state.

Though the matter is still not resolved and it is unclear how the independent reviewers reports will impact the issue, the mediator’s actions in this case are a good example of how bringing a neutral third party in could help to move a dispute toward resolution.

Mediation could especially be a good approach in this case since with the season set to open next month all parties would likely prefer the matter be resolved as soon as possible. In addition, this generally very civil approach is a good one when the parties involved will need to continue to work together.

Source: Latin Post, “Metropolitan Opera Contract Dispute: Met Extends Lockout Deadline for Third Time, Federal Mediator to Review,” Rebecca S. Myles, Aug. 4, 2014

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