05. October 2010 · Comments Off on Detroit Symphony · Categories: Negotiations, Symphony

In case some of you are living under a rock or in a cave, I thought I should at least write a short blog entry about Detroit Symphony. As of yesterday the musicians have been on strike. A strike is serious business. Musicians don’t just strike for fun, and it’s a scary time for all. There are plenty of articles about the issue, and Drew McManus has been blogging quite a bit about the symphony at his music business blog. (Go here for all his Detroit entries.)

Orchestra strikes are tricky issues; there are so many people — perhaps the majority? — who are baffled that we get paid at all. Many think we should get “real jobs” and “play” on the side. I don’t know all the issues with Detroit. I do know the city is in deep trouble. I know the musicians were asked to take a 29% pay cut over three years, and add more services to the contract (services are what we call each rehearsal or concert). It appears that newcomers to the orchestra would be paid less, as would subs. (Having experienced a tiered system, I know it causes all sorts of bad feelings.) The orchestra came back with an offer of starting with a 22% pay cut but ending up at an 8% pay cut in the final year. If you visit the musicians’ site you can read about their interpretation of the proposals. Of course management will have a different take on the whole thing. It’s always fascinating to hear the different interpretations.

In any case, I wish the Detroit Symphony and the Detroit Symphony Musicians well. I suffered the death of a symphony not even close to this full time symphony; I had been in San Jose Symphony for 27 years when it died. It was a horrible experience. I do hope Detroit will fare better.

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