“I’ve been living out of my car, living out of my suitcase. I want to keep the music going, to stay in shape,” he said. “It’s been very important to show our management that even though some of us are in our 50s, we’re still very viable.”
Despite the common stereotype that unions only serve workers in manufacturing, construction and service industries, organized labor has a long history protecting the livelihoods of artists and performers. Jennifer Mondie, a veteran violist with the National Symphony Orchestra, puts it succintly: “There’s no way I could be half the artist I am without the support of the union.”
St. Paul, Minnesota (March 22, 2013) – The Musicians of the Saint Paul
Chamber Orchestra praised Mayor Chris Coleman’s leadership and expressed
their gratitude for his efforts in negotiations, which resulted in a revised
contract offer from Management today.
However, Carole Mason Smith, Chair of the Musicians’ Negotiating Committee,
said that the Musicians cannot legally vote on the new offer until all
references to digital media use, which fall under the purview of the
American Federation of Musicians (AFM), are removed from the proposal.
“Management refused to leave out this part of their proposal, even with our
repeated explanations that no ratification vote can be taken while these
issues remained in their proposal,” Mason Smith said.
Mason Smith said the By-laws of the AFM, its governing document, clearly
state that the Musicians cannot consider or have their members vote on any
language concerning media without prior approval of that language by the
office of the President of the AFM.
Mason Smith said AFM representatives have indicated that they will meet with
Management as soon as they receive the information they requested from
Management. That request for information was made months ago.
The Musicians of the SPCO have been locked out for 153 days. Their contract
expired September 30, 2012. Management imposed the lockout on October 21,
2012 following three weeks where the Musicians continued to “play and talk.”
Coming up on six months of lockouts in Minneapolis and St. Paul, it’s very difficult to think of what else to say or write on this tragic situation, since lots of people way smarter than I have already done so. But since the cliff is fast approaching (or maybe already past), I thought I’d post a few thoughts mostly directed to the MOA (Minnesota Orchestral Association) Board and the soon-to-be former patrons of classical music in the Twin Cities.
This commentary by San Francisco’s Principal Timpanist explains why he is leaving San Francisco to join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. – Today, in a letter to his striking colleagues, he explains why. In brief, ‘I want to be in a workplace where I am valued and supported by management, and where I am considered an asset rather than an inconvenience.’ That’s telling ‘em.’