09. November 2014 · Comments Off on Atlanta Back In Business? · Categories: Locked Out, Read Online

Looks like it.

After a rancorous two-month musician lockout that captured international media attention and scorched a trail through social media, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra management and its players sounded a rare harmonious note in announcing a four-year collective bargaining agreement on Saturday.

“With this agreement, the Woodruff Arts Center showed a great commitment to maintaining a great orchestra in Atlanta,” said Paul Murphy, president of the ASO Players’ Association, the musician’s union. “That’s something I had feared was not the case, but I was heartened ultimately.”

Virginia Hepner, president and CEO of the Woodruff, the ASO’s parent nonprofit, said in a statement announcing the accord, “Over the last several difficult weeks of negotiations, both sides recognized that we all share the same goals and aspirations — we all want a world class orchestra that the musicians and city are proud of and one that has long-term financial stability.

“We believe this new agreement is one that will allow us to achieve those goals.”

Even by the rough-and-tumble standards of many labor negotiations, this one has been harsh, reflecting poorly on Atlanta’s arts support and ambitions as a cultural mecca.


27. October 2014 · Comments Off on What’s Up With Atlanta Symphony Orchestra? · Categories: Locked Out

Not much, at this point. Sigh.

Federal mediation in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s prolonged labor dispute appeared on the verge of unraveling Friday as musicians and management took turns to publicly accuse each other of rejecting their proposals and jeopardizing the future of the orchestra.

Neither side is supposed to talk to the media during federal mediation, but in the early hours of this morning the ASO Players’ Association issued a dramatic press release accusing its parent company, the Woodruff Arts Center (WAC), of abandoning negotiations: “WAC WALKS AWAY FROM ASO TALKS.” After nearly 40 hours of negotiations, the musicians said, management left the table at 11 p.m. Thursday.

Management promptly disputed the claim, countering that its representatives had simply adjourned in order to consider the union’s latest proposal, and accused musicians of deliberately misrepresenting the situation. “To say we ‘walked away’ is not the truth and the union knows it,” said Randy Donaldson, a WAC spokesman.

At the end of the day, however, WAC president and CEO Virginia Hepner sent an email to the WAC Governing Board and the ASO board’s Executive Committee, informing them that the work stoppage would continue and management would soon “be forced to announce a cancellation” of more of the symphony’s season.

Granted, this is from the 24th. Maybe things are looking up by now?