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New York's Metropolitan Opera, unions OK extended contracts

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By Reuters
Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, 9:33 p.m.

New York's Metropolitan Opera has agreed to extend union contracts for a week to allow for an independent study of its finances ­— further postponing a threatened lockout at the nation's largest performing arts organization, the Met said on Saturday.

The Met made the announcement along with two of its largest unions, representing the chorus and orchestra, in collaboration with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

The confidential financial study began on Saturday.

“We are encouraged with this step forward that we believe will address the issues in contention and will ultimately lead to an agreement that is fair to everyone,” said James Odom, president of the American Guild of Musical Artists, in a statement.

The opera company said last week that it would extend negotiations with its labor unions for 72 hours.

A federal mediator has joined negotiations with the orchestra and chorus unions with the aim of averting a work stoppage.

A lockout would derail the new opera season scheduled to begin in September with Mozart's “Le Nozze di Figaro.”

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