UNION SINGS NEW ARIA

From the desk of Stephen Cabot: The National Labor Relations Board’s decision to prevent Boeing from opening a new out-of-state manufacturing facility has apparently inspired other workers to file complaints with the Board.

The American Guild of Musical Artists has now filed a federal complaint against the New York City Opera, which wants to move out of its famed Lincoln Center home after 45 years. The opera company is in serious financial difficulty and deeply in debt. Not only will the company move to a more affordable space, but it plans to reduce the number of operas it will stage next year, from five to three.

The opera company’s 200 members, including fifty choristers and ten production workers, are claiming that the move to a less expensive venue and the company’s intention to produce fewer operas than last season will result in reduced pay.

Of course, it will: that’s the point of restructuring. If the company is to survive and continue providing first-class opera performances to opera goers, it must cut costs. And one of its major costs is its labor expenses.

One can now expect that unionized workers of any company that wants to relocate to file a complaint with the NLRB. The Boeing decision has opened a Pandora’s Box of complaints that will continue to place obstacles against new opportunities not only for increasing profitability and productivity, but also (in this case) against a corporation’s very survival.

Corporate America can only hope that the NLRB does not approve this latest operatic complaint. It is an aria sung out of tune with logic.

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