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 email@example.com
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!
Awesome news: the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra hits a budget surplus at the end of their fiscal year. Scott Freeman has the details, read now!
Senate Passes Every Child Achieves Act, with Music and Arts as Core Subjects, Intact
RESTON, VA (July 16, 2015)—The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) is deeply pleased with this afternoon’s development that the United States Senate has passed its bipartisan Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization proposal, the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), by a final vote count of 81 to 17. The Senate’s action today is an important step forward in ensuring that all students—regardless of their socioeconomic status—experience the demonstrable positive impact that music education has on learning and life.
By naming music and arts as core subjects in the Every Child Achieves Act, the Senate has acknowledged and begun to address the national problem of the narrowing of the curriculum that has taken place under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) for more than a decade now.
Over the past few days I’ve been hit with a strange sense of déjà vu… as well as an impending disaster. Both these feelings are tied to the ongoing story of the Ft. Worth Symphony Orchestra (FWSO) and its contentious labor negotiations with its musicians. Negotiations have drawn on for more than a year, through 29 bargaining sessions, but once again the management refuses to budge. Once again an orchestra’s management seeks to “right size” its budget through drastic pay cuts borne entirely by the musicians.
Once again an orchestra seeks to cut its way to prosperity.
You’ll immediately understand why this seems so familiar—this ugly scenario closely mirrors similar meltdowns with the Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra…
…you get the point.
"[M]usic director Robert Spano summed up the season this way in an e-mail: “This season we celebrated the 100th birthday of Robert Shaw, and in a sense that meant celebrating ourselves, because we are living his legacy. That’s the beauty of a living tradition: not the husk of what once was, but the vitality of what continues to thrive and evolve. That is also the case with the music created hundreds of years ago that continues to live through us today. By honoring and attending to our roots, to our past, we better envision and cultivate our future, buoyed by the rushing current generated by our forebears.” "
Congratulations to our colleagues, the Baltimore Symphony Musicians, on successfully negotiating a raise and a one-year contract extension three months before their current contract expired. We wish them continued luck in this coming year, but this looks like an excellent first step!
ATL Symphony Musicians