Peoria Symphony musicians vote to unionize

Posted on: October 19, 2009

In Friday’s (10/16) Peoria Journal Star (Illinois), Gary Panetta reports, “Peoria Symphony Orchestra musicians voted 28-25 Thursday in favor of forming a union, said David Hoffman, president of American Federation of Musicians’ Local 26. Ballots were counted at the National Labor Relations Board’s regional office at the Hamilton Square Building, Hoffman said. John Donahue of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra board and Ruth Slone, the orchestra’s principal French horn player, witnessed the count by the NLRB board agent, Hoffman said. Attorneys for the Peoria Symphony also were present. Fifty-five ballots were cast, Hoffman said. … Management style, not money, was at issue for many players who favored union representation, said Terry Maher, basoonist and member of the organizing committee, adding that the board has been ‘gracious’ financially.” Some musicians were disappointed with the board’s decision not to renew the contract of Music Director David Commanday. “Carol Wessler, a symphony cellist who did not favor union representation, took the opposite view. She has said board members were only doing their job when they did not renew Commanday’s contract.”

Posted October 19, 2009