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Metropolitan Opera, remaining unions reach labour agreements; season starts Sept. 22

FILE- In this Nov. 13, 2013 file photo, pedestrians stroll at dusk in front of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York's Lincoln Center. The Met and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees said Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 they reached labor agreements with the remaining unions that had expired contract agreements. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

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FILE- In this Nov. 13, 2013 file photo, pedestrians stroll at dusk in front of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York's Lincoln Center. The Met and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees said Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 they reached labor agreements with the remaining unions that had expired contract agreements. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The Metropolitan Opera has reached labour agreements with the remaining unions that had expired contracts, averting the threat of a lockout with about a month to go before the season is scheduled to start.

The Met and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees said Thursday that the groups reaching the tentative contracts include camera operators, box office treasurers and scene artists and designers. The contracts must still be ratified, as must the contracts reached Wednesday with the union representing its stagehands and the agreements on Monday between the Met and its orchestra and chorus.

Fifteen unions had been negotiating for new agreements, representing about 2,500 workers. The deadline had been approaching some weeks ago, and a federal mediator came in to try to help.

Met general manager Peter Gelb had wanted the workers to take pay cuts of about 17 per cent. He pointed to increasing production costs and declining audiences. The union members protested, saying it wasn't necessary and pointing to a deficit of $2.8 million on a $326 million budget.

Details of the contracts haven't been released, and terms vary among the unions. Negotiations had been going on since February.

The Met's season begins Sept. 22.

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