Metropolitan Opera warns unionized workers to prepare for lockout if no deal is reached

The Metropolitan Opera's general manager is warning of a lockout if no contract agreement is reached with its union employees by next week.

Peter Gelb sent a letter to the company's musicians and other unionized workers to prepare for a work stoppage beginning Aug. 1 if no deal is reached. Contracts with the unions are set to expire on July 31.

Joe Hartnett, a spokesman for the International Alliance of Theatrical State Employees, said Wednesday a lockout would likely result in a "lost season and a long-term loss of operagoers and subscribers for years to come."

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.