Louisville Orchestra musicians rally against per-service contract mandate

Posted on: July 14, 2011

In Thursday’s (7/14) Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), Sarah Lawson writes, “On the day Louisville Orchestra players were supposed to respond to an ultimatum from managers, they rallied and delivered personal messages to the CEO’s office. About 40 musicians and music patrons gathered outside the orchestra offices Wednesday to deliver 50 letters and emails and hear answers to questions about the progress of ongoing mediation between the players and orchestra management. Discord between the two sides escalated when each musician received a six-page letter from orchestra CEO Robert Birman last week outlining a ‘per-service’ pay model without benefits and a 159-date schedule. The players had to respond to the offer by Wednesday at 5 p.m. or their silence would be ‘treated as a voluntary refusal to work,’ the letter said. … The orchestra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December, and the players have been without contracts since May 31, when the previous collective-bargaining agreement expired. Although a labor relations expert has said the letter, which was sent to players individually rather than going through the musicians’ union, could be grounds for a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, [violinist and players’ negotiating committee chairwoman Kim] Tichenor said a federal suit isn’t in the works.”

Posted July 14, 2011