The orchestra’s 60 core members would be affected. D’Agostino said SSO management anticipates the musicians would be eligible for unemployment benefits, but the state Department of Labor would make the final determination.

I don’t really understand. If they aren’t working — if the orchestra has let them go for the week — why is there even a question about collecting unemployment?

I’m sort of out of it when it comes to this stuff, since I can’t collect unemployment and I think it’s a bit unethical to collect it in certain instances in any case, but I know that a large number of my colleagues file for unemployment on the weeks when they have a week with no symphony/ballet/opera. To many it’s just a given.

I, of course, teach at my home studio. I never take a week off, unless I’m taking a vacation (and taking a vacation would definitely make collecting unemployment a bit unethical, yes?). I also receive paychecks monthly from UCSC, even over the months I am not actually teaching. I love this! They stretch my pay over twelve months, which means these very rough summer months, when Dan isn’t teaching, aren’t quite so difficult to get through.

But why is this story about Syracruse even a story? Maybe someone who does the unemployment thing can explain it to me.


  1. When we had this issue in the SJ Symphony it came down to whether our employment terms were per service or salaried.

    Since we were guaranteed a certain number of services each season the unemployment folks decided we were salaried, even though the contract defined our pay in terms of $/service…

  2. Thanks for the explanation!