Philadelphia Orchestra board to vote on bankruptcy, musicians opposed

Posted on: April 15, 2011

In Friday’s (4/15) Philadelphia Inquirer, Peter Dobrin writes, “In a bit of theater in support of organized labor, musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra gathered on stage for their usual Thursday night concert, and then, minutes before curtain time, fanned out into the audience with leaflets pleading their case with the listening public. All was cordial, with smiles and handshakes … They returned to the stage to a rousing ovation from the audience and waved their instruments in response. The action was the first overt distress signal from talks between musicians and management that began in October and that now appear headed for a showdown Saturday morning, when the orchestra board is slated to take a vote on filing Chapter 11.” The article relates that it appears that the board of the Philadelphia Orchestra Association plans to file for bankruptcy in order to relieve a pension-withdrawal liability of about $25 million. “Musicians are vehemently opposed to the move. They plan to press their case Friday morning in a meeting with Mayor Nutter and intend to stage other demonstrations in coming days. … The current contract, which runs through Sept. 18, contains a no-strike clause, and musicians intend to honor it—unless the current contract is set aside in bankruptcy proceedings, said members’ committee chairman and cellist John Koen.”

Posted April 15, 2011