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labor issues the orchestra world

socks and underwear

Oregon Symphony/Leah Nash
Oregon Symphony/Leah Nash

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.

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labor issues

atlanta symphony reaches settlement

From a press release issued by the Atlanta Symphony Musicians today, Sept. 26, 2012:

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players Association (ASOPA) announced that the musicians voted to accept a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for the term of September 23, 2012 – September 6, 2014.

In an unprecedented and extremely painful move designed to keep the music going, ASOPA agreed to every dollar in concessions that the Woodruff Arts Center (WAC) and ASO management have demanded since the lockout began on August 25. In the interest of continuing to bring music to the community and opening the season on time, ASOPA has accepted $5.2 million in concessions over a brief two-year agreement.

Those charged with overseeing the ASO have done historic damage to the future of the Orchestra by insisting on an arbitrary “musicians’ share” of $5.2 million. They have set the ASO back over 31 years in work weeks for the musicians and over 10 years in musicians’ compensation, not even taking inflation into account.

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labor issues the orchestra world

pbs covers return of detroit symphony

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.