Philadelphia Orchestra management and musicians request new mediation

Posted on: September 9, 2011

In Friday’s (9/9) Philadelphia Inquirer, Peter Dobrin reports, “Labor and management of the Philadelphia Orchestra have asked for contract talks in a new venue: mediation under the jurisdiction of U.S. Bankruptcy Court. On Wednesday, the Philadelphia Orchestra Association and Local 77 of the American Federation of Musicians asked Judge Eric Frank to assign a bankruptcy judge to oversee talks. … Previous mediation with the director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, George Cohen, failed to produce an agreement. Management wants to leave the union’s national pension fund; the union has fought to keep the Philadelphia players in the fund. But there is reason to think dynamics of the new mediation will be different, said Lawrence G. McMichael, the association’s bankruptcy attorney. ‘A bankruptcy judge has more persuasive influence. It carries more weight than mediation,’ he said. If one side expressed a position in mediation, ‘the judge can look up and say, “You will lose. If I had that in my court, this is how I would rule.” A bankruptcy judge can settle things that other people can’t.’ ”

Posted September 9, 2011