Fort Worth Musicians on Strike!

By Blumenthal, Jay | International Musician, October 2016 | Go to article overview

Fort Worth Musicians on Strike!


Blumenthal, Jay, International Musician


For the last few years, I've taken great pleasure in announcing at each AFM and symphonic player conference that there currently are no ongoing symphony orchestra strikes or lockouts within the AFM. Unfortunately that is no longer the case. On Thursday, September 8, 2016, the Dallas-Ft. Worth Professional Musicians' Association, Local 72-147, sent out a press release stating: "Musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Call Strike." This came after management made a last, best, and final offer and indicated they would be implementing it Monday, September 12.

In 2010, the musicians accepted cuts amounting to 13.5%. Nevertheless, management now is insisting on further cuts. AFM President Ray Hair and I flew to Ft. Worth September 9 to meet with the Orchestra Committee and Local 72-147 President Stewart Williams over the weekend. At the meeting, the Orchestra Committee indicated that musicians were resolute in their decision not to accept further cuts.

After the meeting, we attended a large rally on the steps of the iconic Tarrant County Courthouse in support of the striking musicians. This was my address to the rally attendees:

It is an honor to be standing with you today in support of the musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in our fight for justice, dignity, and respect. Symphonic musicians bring a lifetime of preparation to their work. Most musicians have studied music from early childhood. To reach the skill level needed to win an audition in a major symphony orchestra, musicians make an enormous investment of time and money in their education. In addition to paying for music lessons and a conservatory education, musicians must purchase at least one, and often several, professional-quality instruments costing well into six figures for string instruments. By the time a musician gets to the orchestra audition, anywhere from half a million to a million dollars could easily be invested in their education and instrument(s). …

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