Union members are worried the company wants to turn them into freelancers and severely cut their pay. City Opera's budget has been reduced by more than half, thanks to declining revenues (based on bad programming decisions?) and rising debt (thanks to the financial crisis and poor management?). The company was forced to leave its long-time Lincoln Center home at the Koch Theater to become a nomadic company, whose itinerary includes the two stops at BAM this winter.
Last season, City Opera singers made $40,000 with health insurance; under the new plan, they would make a tenth that, with no health insurance. Steel took a salary cut, too—from $360,000 to $324,000 a year.