Purchase your T-shirt here to support the ATL Symphony Musicians.
What musicians are wearing to the revolution!
The music is the message ... sing it, play it, and wear it where you will be seen and heard. Cool textured typewriter font, with 'Music' printed in the color associated with danger, sacrifice, and passion.
If this sounds like your job as a musician ... or if you stand in solidarity with classical musicians everywhere who are struggling to keep their livelihoods and artistic reputations intact ... join the growing movement -- started by musicians -- to keep the music ongoing!
Designed by Robert Cobucci, The Music is Ongoing t-shirt is printed 2-colors on a high-quality black short sleeved t-shirt. 100% ring-spun cotton jersey with taped neck and shoulders, double-needle sleeve and bottom hem. Available in sizes M-3XL. Sorry! S sold out!
The purchase of this t-shirt includes a contribution to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players Association.
For the first time ever, more than 30 members of the ASO are coming together to present a marathon evening of chamber music.Eddies Attic - Decatur, GA Sunday September 30 @ 7pmDoors Open at 6pmHear the musicians of the ASO as you never have before - in small ensembles featuring music by Bach, Mozart, Brahms, Golijov, Reich, and others.Proceeds to benefit the musicians
after their recent lockout.
September 17, 2012: Concertmaster David Coucheron and Associate Concertmaster William Pu will headline the two benefit concerts presented by the ATL Symphony Musicians on Thursday and Friday, September 20 & 21. The Orchestra's two lead violinists will perform the Double Violin Concerto by J.S. Bach. The program will also include Beethoven's 5th Symphony and Rossini's famous Barber of Seville Overture.
The two special benefit concerts will be at 8:00 PM at the Center for the Arts at North Atlanta High School, 2875 Northside Drive NW. No admission will be charged, but donations towards the musicians' health insurance, cut off during the current lockout by the Woodruff Arts Center, are gratefully accepted, as are expressions of support.
Michael Palmer, former Associate Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony (www.facebook.com/michael.palmer.conductor
), will conduct. Seating
is limited and e-mail reservations are required. Those wishing to attend should email@example.com
or call 404-802-4728 to reserve seats, including name and number of seats in the e-mail.
The Center for the Arts at North Atlanta High School is on Northside Drive, between W. Wesley and W. Paces Ferry RoadsDirections
are available at this link: http://www.atlanta.k12.ga.us//Domain/3382For more info:
September 14, 2012: The musicians of the ATL Symphony Orchestra will present two special benefit concerts Thursday, September 20 and Friday, September 21 at 8 PM at Center for the Arts at North Atlanta High School, 2875 Northside Drive NW. No admission will be charged, but donations towards the musicians' health insurance, cut off during the current lockout by the Woodruff Arts Center, are gratefully accepted, as are expressions of support.
Michael Palmer, former Associate Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony (www.facebook.com/michael.palmer.conductor
), will conduct. The program will be announced next week. Seating
is limited and e-mail reservations are required. Those wishing to attend should e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org
> or call 404-802-4728 to reserve seats, including name and number of seats in the e-mail.
Center for the Arts at North Atlanta High School is on Northside Drive, between W. Wesley and W. Paces Ferry Roads Directions
are available at this link: http://www.atlanta.k12.ga.us//Domain/3382 For more info:
Atlanta, GA, September 4, 2012: On August 24, in an unprecedented effort to reach agreement on terms of a new collective bargaining agreement, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players Committee (ASOPA) offered very deep cuts in the Orchestra to the Atlanta Symphony Management negotiating team and the ASO Board. The $4 million in concessions offered by the 88 current Musicians of the ASO would be combined with parallel income cuts for those on the approximately 75-member ASO administrative staff who are paid at least the minimum salary of ASO musicians.
ASO negotiators and staff, together with ASO board members, applauded with appreciation the musicians’ enormous offer of concessions, expressing privately that musicians have given enough - that the musicians should hold firm while an agreement was worked out with others. They also asked ASOPA to avoid talking with the press or even releasing full details of the talks to the Orchestra musicians, a request with which ASOPA agreed and has cooperated fully. Meanwhile, the WAC cancelled the musicians’ August 31 paychecks, as well as their health, dental, and disability insurance.
Despite behind-the-scenes efforts by ASO Board and community leaders in communication with the WAC Executive Board, many frustrated ASO board members and staff now stand beside ASO musicians in dismay at the WAC Executive Board’s refusal to allow any compromise.
As informal discussions continued into last week about how to close the dramatically reduced gap between the musicians’ and ASO’s proposals, an ASO Executive Board Committee member communicated the reaction of the Woodruff Arts Center Executive Board to the progress in an e-mail message shared with musicians by ASO CEO Stanley Romanstein. “…[W]hile the gap has been substantially reduced, … the WAC Governing Board has made the final decision that the ‘best and final offer’… can be no less than the $2.6M in concessions presented in our last offer. As you know, the WAC signs the union agreement so they do have the last word in these matters. They are fully prepared for a work stoppage”.
The message goes on to say that “while the support of the ASO Executive Cmte would be preferred, the final decision lies with the WAC Governing Board. Due to representations made to investors and key donors as well as the rating agencies, we must achieve and balanced budget and we require that half of the $5M gap comes from the contract with the musicians.”
Acknowledging an “alternative solution…crafted…by the ASO [that] was reviewed by [WAC Executive Board members and staff]…that option was rejected as the union concession was still less than the $2.6M that they are requiring.”
The e-mail added: “With regard to negative PR, they feel that the ASO and the WAC are sufficiently prepared and ready to deal with this matter. They consider the risk of not achieving a balanced budget is far greater than any negative PR. This applies to considering the implication to fundraising, ticket sales and the negative impact to other divisions of the WAC. Therefore WAC Governing Board has decided that there is no need for an extension to further internally discuss options or PR implications, the senior team at the WAC Governing Board has reviewed the matter and has made a final decision.”
The communication ends with the assertion that “the team is making plans to deal with the impact of the work stoppage. Therefore we will redirect our energies in that direction, continue to update and execute on our PR plan and determine next steps on negotiations.”
The WAC’s assertion that there is a $5 million budget gap misstates the facts: According to the ASO’s own budget documents, the deficit for Fiscal Year 2012 was $2.7 million, and a $1.5 million deficit is budgeted for Fiscal Year 2013. The Musicians have offered $2 million in concessions for each of the 2012-13 and 2013-14 contract years. Additional administrative staff cuts that the parties have agreed to would further bridge the gap, as would aggressive initiatives to review all costs and expenditures of the ASO and its subsidiary entities, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre and SD&A Teleservices, to reduce waste and find other savings. Yet, somehow finding that half of the made-up $5 million gap equals $2.6 million, the WAC punitively insists that the musicians alone – the costs of whom comprise only 28% of the ASO budget -- bear the entire budget burden.
Most arts executives and boards across the nation realize that for a non-profit to deeply cut and demean its primary product is not effective either for fundraising or fulfillment of its mission to the community. Community leaders and the musicians wonder when the ASO as an institution will be able to chart its own destiny, in light of the clear evidence that the WAC cares only about penalizing the musicians, regardless of how much damage is done to the award-winning legacies of ASO artistic leaders Robert Shaw, Yoel Levi, Robert Spano and Donald Runnicles.
The Musicians’ reality is that:
- As of August 26th, ASO musicians have been without any pay or benefits, also known as being locked out.
- On August 31, health, dental, and disability insurance policies for all musicians, several of whom are battling cancer and other debilitating health crises, have also been cancelled by the WAC as threatened. This is contrary to Stanley Romanstein’s denial of that fact reported in the August 26 edition of the AJC: “The musicians — who are full-time employees — had feared that if a deal was not made, they would be locked out without pay and health benefits. ASO president Stanley Romanstein has denied that, but in a letter to the musicians from executive vice president for business operations Donald Fox, he indicated that they had no authority to continue benefits beyond Aug. 25.”
- All musicians’ access cards to Symphony Hall and parking decks have been deactivated.
- Extra off-duty police have been hired at an undisclosed cost to patrol the WAC campus, creating the armed camp effect apparently sought by the WAC, despite no statements, threats or actions by ASO musicians that would necessitate such tactics and expense.
- All scheduled work for the Orchestra through September 24 has been canceled.
- The WAC Executive Board's actions threaten the ASO and the WAC itself, especially coming at a time when the WAC admits that the ASO budget gap is so close to being bridged. Their insistence on $2.6 million in cuts to the musicians alone, regardless of any other factors, certainly implies a misplaced priority of budgeting over mission, and suggests that they do not have in mind the best interests of the Atlanta Symphony, the communities it serves, or Atlanta itself, whose world-wide reputation the ASO enhances.
Contact: Colin Williams
(404) 275-4997 ASOPASpokesperson@gmail.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Colin Williams (404) 275-4997 email@example.com www.ATLsymphonymusicians.com
Twitter: @ATLSymMusicians Atlanta Symphony Musicians Offer $2.8 Million to Close Budget Gap Administration Challenged to Match Musicians’ Compensation Cuts
Atlanta, GA, August 15, 2012 7:00 PM
Today the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players Committee (ASOPA) met with members of the Atlanta Symphony Management negotiating team to come to terms for a new collective bargaining agreement.
ASOPA offered a comprehensive proposal which includes enough modification in musician compensation to cover the orchestra’s projected shortfall for the 2012-13 season and extended them for a second year as well.
“We have offered to reduce the size of the orchestra, reduce the individual compensation of musicians, reduce the number of work weeks, and share health care costs with management. Our comprehensive solution calls for the staff to share the reduction with us in the coming seasons to help stabilize the future of this great orchestra,” explained cellist and ASOPA President Daniel Laufer.
The musicians propose that total musician compensation and total staff compensation each be reduced by 11%. They specifically ask the senior staff members to share in this reduction from their individual salaries so as to avoid placing undue burden on junior and part-time staffers. This would save almost $5 million over two years.
“The significance of shared sacrifice cannot be overstated,” said Colin Williams, ASOPA spokesperson and principal trombonist. “This proposal represents a shared contribution to balance the budget.”
Recent statements by the management team suggest that growth in musician compensation is the primary reason for the deficit. “Since 2006, total staff compensationhas increased by almost 50%, while total musician compensation has only increased by 16%, just keeping up with inflation. This means that we must all play our part in reigning in costs,” explained Colin Williams.
Between 2006 and 2012, total staff compensation grew from about $4 million to $6 million, a 50% increase. This doesn't even include nearly $1 million in salaries/benefits for Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre staff, or a similar amount spent on salaries/benefits for the abandoned Symphony Center project in 2006 alone. Musician expenses are only 28% of the budget. Especially given the growth in staff compensation, musicians cannot be the sole source of cost reduction.
As part of this 50% increase in management compensation, management and staff received almost $400,000 in bonuses between 2008 and 2012. For example, according to the Woodruff Arts Center’s 2010 IRS Form 990, ASO Executive Vice President for Business Operations and Chief Financial Officer Don Fox was paid almost $300,000, including a $20,000 bonus, while deficits mounted. This represented a $30,000 increase over the previous year.
“Musicians are willing to be part of the solution. As of today we have put close to $3 million of musician cost reductions on the table, which address every aspect of what we do: salary, orchestra size, number of paid weeks, and cost sharing of health insurance. But we cannot be the only solution when staff have not participated in cost reductions and management has not presented any cogent plans to remedy the situation other than diminishing the product,” stressed Williams.
Colin Williams is available for interviews at the phone number and e-mail address above.
Are you on Facebook?
Have you liked the ATL Symphony Musicians page
For all of our upcoming events, most recent pictures, and news, please give us a like!