September 7, 2014 by Norman Lebrecht Slippedisc.com
As of midnight September 7th, 2014, ASO President and CEO Stanley Romanstein had refused all requests to meet with the Musicians during the final hours before the 2012-2014 CBA expired, forcing them to submit their most recent proposal electronically. The Musicians emphasized in their proposal that they wish to avoid a labor dispute and propose to continue negotiating while working under the concessionary 2012-14 contract. The musicians have received no response; it appears that the Woodruff Arts Center has locked out the Musicians of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for the second time in as many years.
In over eight months of negotiations, the Woodruff Arts Center and ASO Managements have displayed no willingness to find a workable agreement. They have refused to meet in person during the final days before our existing contract expired, and obstinately cling to the concessionary terms of their “last, best, and final offer,” under which the musicians would continue to hemorrhage income and lose orchestra positions.
The ASO’s spinners have avoided the inflammatory term ‘lockout’, but that is what appears to have kicked in at midnight. The musicians are out of work until and unless they knuckle down to lower pay and health care, and far fewer jobs. The ASO wants to cut its complement of musicians by up to one-third, relegating itself to a lower-league orchestra. ‘Doctor’ Romanstein – never trust a bureaucrat who signs himself ‘PhD’ – locked the musicians out two years ago and regards the last settlement as unfinished business.
Atlanta, like Minnesota, has gone into the deep, dark night of lockout through no fault of its musicians.