Detroit Symphony musicians reject contract, OK strike

Posted on: August 30, 2010

In Sunday’s (8/29) Detroit Free Press, Mark Stryker reports, “The musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on Saturday rejected management’s final two contract proposals and authorized its union leaders to call a strike. The two sides have been deadlocked in a battle over steep pay cuts that would, in the most contentious proposal on the table, leave base salaries for veteran players at $73,800 in three years, 29% lower than the $104,650 they make today. Battered by the recession, the DSO has been hemorrhaging millions every year—it expects to lose $9 million in 2010—and management says the cuts are needed to keep the orchestra alive. The players say such draconian reductions would transform the DSO into a second-class symphony. The current contract expires at midnight tonight, and no bargaining sessions are scheduled. However, a strike or lockout won’t occur until at least Sept. 24 because of an unexpected plot twist involving labor law that obligates management to keep paying the players under the terms of their current contract. … The players agree that pay cuts are necessary and offered a 22% reduction in the first year to $80,000. But the players demand far steeper raises, with base salaries reaching $96,600 in year three.” The DSO’s 2010-11 season begins October 8.

Photo: Detroit Symphony musicians on tour in Miami

Posted August 30, 2010