“Detroit News” editorial: Symphony musicians should reconsider strike

Posted on: September 30, 2010

In an un-bylined opinion piece in Thursday’s (9/30) Detroit News, the newspaper’s editors offer their view of the ongoing contract negotiations at the Detroit Symphony: “Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians who are weighing the decision to strike this weekend should take some time to go over the just released U.S. census numbers on poverty and household income in Michigan. The results make a mockery of the union’s shockingly aloof statement that ‘this community can do better’ in supporting the symphony. No it can’t. The census numbers confirm that over the past decade, household incomes in Michigan have plunged 21.3 percent, with some of Metro Detroit’s most prosperous suburbs leading the decline. … A strike by workers in pursuit of a contract the DSO can’t financially deliver would put the future of the symphony at risk, and hurt the downtown restaurants and other businesses that depend on orchestra traffic. … The DSO is asking musicians for a dramatic cut in pay. In addition, musicians would have to take on non-performing duties at the orchestra and lose some benefits. It’s a tough pill for musicians to swallow. Working harder for less money is not an easy thing to accept. But it’s what the community that supports the DSO has had to do over the past decade. Starting pay for DSO musicians is roughly $104,650, and would decline to $70,200. … Union-protected jobs with six-figure salaries are scarce in today’s Michigan. The musicians should hang on to theirs with both hands, and pray along with the rest of us for a future that returns our state to prosperity.”

Posted September 30, 2010