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For those afraid to fly, a sometimes helpful piece of advice: the pilot has the same interest as you in arriving safely. Trust by passengers in the airline and pilot that all will be safe and secure and that both have the same interests is essential.

A recent contract agreement reached by the Metropolitan Opera raises for me the question: does the union (employees) not believe the board has the same interests as the employees? My initial answer: I don't think so. I should add, history would suggest that owners never really have the same interests as their employees but I sometimes like to hope that nonprofit owners (boards) are different.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a month of negotiations between the union and the management (representing the board) of the Metropolitan Opera will include lots of pay cuts AND "they stipulate that an independent financial analyst, paid jointly by the Met and its three largest unions, will observe the Met's spending in the future...and have full access to the Met's books and board members, and would oversee equal implementation of the cuts.."

Whew! Aren't nonprofit board members supposed to care about the welfare of their employees as much as the outcomes of their efforts? And isn't this "care" best demonstrated in the management they hire to implement mission? Did the Met's board hire managers whose job it was to not look-out for the interest of employees? If I were to wager, I might suggest that the corporate members of the board generally do have a different framing on how employees should be regarded and managed -- a framing that does not put employees at least equal in value to management. Thus, the need for a union and in the case, the need for an auditor who represents the interests of the employees.

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