columbus symphony musicians respond

The Columbus Symphony musicians have issued a formal response to the planned cuts of both season and personnel by the Columbus Symphony Association.

Central Ohio Federation of Musicians
Local 103, AFM
1585 Bethel Road, Suite 100
Columbus, Ohio 43220
614-457-6371

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 29, 2008

HUNDREDS FROM AROUND THE WORLD RALLY TO SUPPORT THE
COLUMBUS SYMPHONY MUSICIANS AND CONDEMN THE BOARD’S
FUTURE PLANS

Since the announcement by the Board of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra less than two weeks ago of their intention to fire 22 Musicians at the end of this August and impose an almost 30% salary and benefit cut from the remaining 31 Musicians by cutting 12 weeks from next season, interest and support has poured in from all over the country and as far away as London and Berlin condemning the Board’s plan.

The plan was developed in secret over many weeks and the Musicians and Music Director were deliberately excluded from the planning process. “No orchestra has
ever solved its problems on the backs of Musicians”, said Douglas Fisher, a member of the orchestra and President of AFM Local 103, the union which represents
the Musicians. “The cuts sought by the Board would be devastating to the Musicians and their families and we will not accept them because they will destroy the high artistic quality which has taken decades to build. The deliberate exclusion of the Musicians, the one group of constituents who possess the greatest institutional memory and experience, is evidence of the Board’s incompetence and negligence.”

Only two and a half years ago, the Musicians agreed to accept salary and benefit cuts worth $1.3 million in return for the Board’s assurance that this donation would enable them to leverage additional support and thus stabilize and advance the orchestra in the future. “The Board failed to keep this promise”, said Jim Akins, Principal Tuba and Chair of the Orchestra Committee, which is elected by the Musicians to represent their interests. “Instead of raising money and hiring the right people to run the orchestra, they continued to burn what little endowment was left and hired unqualified and inexperienced people to fill critical Management vacancies. This is not a financial problem, this is a governance problem”.

For more detailed and complete information, please visit www.symphonymusicians.com. You may also contact Doug Fisher at 614-783-3684 or Jim Akins at 614-361-1481.

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