We stand with our colleagues, the Philadelphia Orchestra Musicians.
We stand with the Musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as they voted to go on strike today.
From the press release: "Management demands the following: ... A reduction in the Orchestra complement (presently 99 plus 2 librarians, though 3 positions are currently vacant) to some lower number that would be unilaterally determined by PSI Management, which would have sole discretion to decline to replace Musicians who retire or leave the Orchestra."
Does this sound eerily familiar? It didn't fly here in Atlanta, and sure isn't going to fly in Pittsburgh, either. Stand strong,
Response by the Musicians of the PSO to Management’s statement:
PSI Management claims that the severe cuts it is demanding to the Musicians’ pay, benefits, and orchestra complement are needed or else the PSO will “have to close the doors.” That is not accurate, and needlessly alarmist. By Management’s own admission, the PSO is seeing strong growth in ticket sales, subscription sales, and its Annual Fund – in fact, Management acknowledges “a record-breaking fundraising year.”
Management cites a series of misleading figures that the Musicians have thoroughly debunked in face-to-face meetings with Management since February. We were, in fact, surprised to see Management release those figurers publicly, as the Musicians, with the assistance of an experienced actuary, conclusively demonstrated that Management is inflating its forecasted liabilities, and understating its potential revenue, by using assumptions that are inaccurate and unrealistic.
Management’s demands are not driven by necessity. Rather, Management has taken the ideological stance of seeking to impose a “new business model” that Management claims will be more “sustainable.” Management seems to think that such a radical shift will not affect the world-class excellence of the PSO. That is a pipe dream. As has been shown by misguided attempts to impose this “new business model” in other places, such as Detroit and Minnesota, the result is that Musicians will leave. We will not be able to attract replacements of the same caliber. Musicians who do come here will stay for a short time and then leave. Instead of an orchestra made up of the world’s best musicians, who choose to become proud Pittsburghers and raise their families here, the PSO will be a transitional group – a stepping-stone orchestra for lesser musicians who immediately seek greener pastures. The PSO that Pittsburgh has come to know and love will cease to exist.
We again call upon Management to return to the table and bargain for a fair contract that will ensure the continued excellence of the PSO.
Our colleagues in Fort Worth are fighting for a fair and progressive contract. The city of Fort Worth is booming, and the orchestra could be in a position to move forward and do bigger and better things. Instead, uninspired management wants to keep slicing away at a venerable institution. We here in Atlanta know that there's a better way. #GrowthNotCuts Musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
As of 12:30pm this afternoon, the Musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra are officially on strike.
Below is a press release from Stewart Williams, President of American Federation of Musicians Local 72-147.
For immediate release
September 8, 2016
Musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Call Strike
As of 12:30 today, after the second rehearsal for the opening Subscription concert of the 2016-17 Season, the Musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra (FWSO) and their representatives from the American Federation of Musicians Local 72-147, have officially called a strike.
Management issued its last, best and final offer yesterday morning when musicians met to resume negotiations. The musicians had come with plans to bargain, but were met with the same exact offer which the musicians rejected four days ago. Management also announced that this final offer would be implemented on Monday, a clear signal that management’s intention was to irresponsibly cease talks.
In 2010 the musicians accepted a 13.5% cut to help face recessionary economic conditions. But today, Fort Worth is one of the most thriving and growing cities in the nation, and ticket sales are on the rise. Reducing the budget has already caused musicians to leave the orchestra at twice the rate of the previous decade, and musicians refuse to agree to more damaging cuts.
After years of cuts and irresponsibly refusing to bargain further, the future of the FWSO is now at stake. The Musicians continue to call on Management to return to the bargaining table in the interest of coming to an agreement and ensuring the orchestra’s very existence.
“We want our audiences and the citizens of Fort Worth to know how much we regret that we are forced to take this extreme step,” said bassist and member of the musicians’ negotiating committee, Julie Vinsant. “We call on our management to come back to the table so that we can continue providing great music for our great city. We are very thankful for your continuing steadfast support.”
Press contact: Stewart Williams, President, American Federation of Musicians Local 72-147 firstname.lastname@example.org
We stand with our colleagues in Fort Worth. #GrowthNotCuts
The Musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra are in the middle of negotiating a new contract to replace the one that expires on September 4. They've launched an online store where you can buy some of their swag to help support them and their cause. We wish our colleagues the best of luck in their negotiations!
ATL Symphony Musicians