Detroit musicians reject orchestra offer, season ends

CHICAGO Sat Feb 19, 2011 6:34pm EST

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Detroit Symphony Orchestra suspended the remainder of its season after striking musicians rejected management's final contract offer on Saturday.

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra said it "reluctantly" released artists and conductors from their contracts after the vote. It suspended remaining orchestral concerts through June and said rescheduling concerts, resuming the 2011 summer season and announcing a 2011-2012 calendar remain possible pending a settlement.

Members of the orchestra, on strike since October, said they would seek a compromise agreement and urged quick talks to save the current season.

The orchestra is also ready to return to talks, the chairman of the DSO board of directors, Stanley Frankel, said in a statement.

Orchestra management and the 80 musicians have been tussling over issues of pay and how much of the orchestra's time should be devoted to community outreach.

Lower pay and higher medical costs in the proposed contract would make it far more difficult for the orchestra to attract the best talent, the union has said.

Musicians have not been paid by the orchestra during the strike. They are paid $300 a week from the union's strike fund and some are playing in other orchestras. Under the old contract, musicians were paid $2,020 a week on average.

Two musicians have accepted offers from other orchestras, violinist and union committee member Joe Goldman said earlier this week.

(Reporting by Jessica Wohl in Chicago and Deepa Seetharaman in Detroit; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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Comments (3)
$8000 per month is not enough? Even if their pay gets cut they still get paid a whole lot more than most people!

Feb 19, 2011 7:17pm EST  --  Report as abuse
jakeskatt wrote:
That is not much money to pay a professional musician. This is particularly so if they have to waste their time on community outreach. That is like asking for a worker to work overtime with no pay. Any detroit motor family knows that is not right.

Feb 19, 2011 8:06pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Mabolzich wrote:
As a Detroit professional musician and music teacher for over 40 years, I think they’re insane! Playing music most of the folks here don’t care for, in a subsidized band, and getting paid over $100,000 a year, plus all the overpriced lessons you can give, give me a break! I actually have to play music people will pay for. Let them pack up their oboes and violas and go somewhere else. I understand the McDonalds is hiring. By the way, my thanks to the union for their great advice and counsel, do they think they’re in New York? I guess they feel that nothing is better than something. I know the tuba players will find a gig, if they don’t mind collecting garbage. Does the Ford Foundation and other donators still give the symphony money ever if it’s not performing? I read somewhere about all the years of training, practice, and education the DSO members undergo to become symphony players, I guess they missed the math classes. I think the DSO should hire some cats from the local colleges and pay em fifty bucks a performance, the folks will never know the difference.

Feb 20, 2011 10:45am EST  --  Report as abuse
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