Magazine article International Musician

Detroit Symphony Orchestra Musicians Return to Work

Magazine article International Musician

Detroit Symphony Orchestra Musicians Return to Work

Article excerpt

After a record-breaking six months on strike, the musicians of Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) returned to work April 7, following a tentative agreement that was reached April 3. After a weekend that involved 27 hours of bargaining talks, the negotiating committee, along with its venerable attorney, Leonard Leibowitz, who has represented the DSO since 1972, and Local 5 (Detroit, MI) President Gordon Stump, brought a contract back to the full orchestra for a vote. The orchestra first agreed to an April 7 rehearsal in preparation for two concerts that weekend; on April 8, the votes were tallied, and the new contract was officially ratified.

The agreement, totaling $36.3 million, including $2 million earmarked for optional work, such as chamber music concerts and educational outreach, will be in effect through August 2014. Base salaries next year will drop to $79,000 from $104,000, the number of contracted players will drop to 81 from 96, and the number of weeks in the season will drop to 40 from 52, with four weeks of paid vacation. In the remaining years of the contract, modest gains will be made.

Though the contract is concessionary, it was acceptable compared with previous offers since it does not change job requirements, does not implement a two-tiered wage system, and keeps the orchestra's librarians as part of the bargaining unit.

"We want to thank the thousands of people from all over the city, the nation, and indeed the world, who supported us with their letters, e-mails, and in many cases their money," says Local 5 (Detroit, MI) President Gordon Stump. …

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