In the latest issue of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) journal, Senza Sordino, the Oregon Symphony’s ICSOM delegate, piccolo player Zachariah Galatis, wrote eloquently of the ennui that accompanied our recent ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement. I won’t go into it, he describes everything quite well in the article, but I’ll just say this about how the settlement looks to me, in terms of respect to the musicians:
The musicians of an orchestra are the socks and underwear of the budget line items. Necessary, not exciting. Spend as little as you can get away with on them.
Is this the next big labor dispute after Minnesota and Hartford? It certainly is shaping up to be. The rhetoric from the orchestra’s management definitely seems to be from the same play book as those other orchestras. A strike authorization vote doesn’t necessarily mean a strike is unavoidable, but it does allow the players’ representatives to call a strike at any time. Let’s hope that this action on the part of the musicians will help the discussion to move along in a more positive direction – but somehow, I don’t think that will be the case.
I got taken to task Thursday night by Robert Levine (my bratsche blogging brother) for my recent post (concerning the contentious negotiations and work stoppages in recent weeks) over at the Polyphonic.org blog. It’s good reading, and Robert has good points, and I make a weak rebuttal attempt in the comments. Enjoy!