Detroit Symphony forced into tough decisions

Posted on: August 25, 2010

In Tuesday’s (8/24) Detroit Free Press, Mark Stryker reports on labor negotiations between musicians and management at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. “The conflict is rooted in proposed base salary cuts of 28% in the first year, from $104,650 to about $75,000. Management says the cuts are crucial to the survival of the recession-battered DSO, which is hemorrhaging cash and mortgaged up to its piccolos. The players say the cuts would downgrade the orchestra permanently from its status among the country’s elite. Both sides say they are willing to negotiate, and there is one more bargaining session scheduled for Friday, two days before the contract expires at midnight Sunday. … ‘There’s great passion and commitment to the maintenance of a great orchestra by the musicians, management and board in Detroit,’ said Jesse Rosen, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras in New York. ‘But they have to figure out how much of that can they actually have and what can the community actually support.’ … In a twist, management has also offered a proposal B that cuts pay further and institutes a lower starting wage of $63,000. It also guarantees fewer weeks but opens the door for more education and community work. If players don’t agree to some form of proposal A by Saturday, then proposal B comes into play.”

Posted August 25, 2010