Metropolitan Opera proposes mediator to resolve labor dispute as threatened lockout looms

The Metropolitan Opera wants to bring in a federal mediator to settle a contract dispute that's threatening to lockout workers.

Opera and union officials say management proposed a mediator during negotiating sessions Wednesday.

The opera says it rejected one union's proposal for interest-based bargaining, saying it would be ineffective and time consuming.

The musicians union says it's considering mediation but says the opera should extend the current contract and back off its lockout threat.

The opera says musicians and other unionized workers would be locked out beginning Friday if no deal is reached.

Contracts with the unions are set to expire on Thursday.

The Met ran a $2.8 million deficit last season on a budget of $327 million. It has reported a drop in box-office revenue and increasing costs.