Indiana News

ISO Musicians Union Awaiting Management Response

9/3/2012


(photo courtesy of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra)

The union representing nearly 90 Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra musicians says it's waiting to hear whether management has accepted their latest contract offer.

Richard Graef is negotiating chairman of the American Federation of Musicians Local 3 in Indianapolis. He says they've offered a one-year contract with $1.4 million in pay concessions to help aid ISO financially. Graef says it's a short term solution that will give both sides time to plan for the future.

Graef's comments come in response to a statement from ISO Board Chairman John Thornburgh. Thornburgh says he's disappointed that the union couldn't negotiate through the Labor Day weekend. He says it doesn't reflect the urgency of the situation. However, Graef says talks remain active whether in person or by telephone or email.

The musicians' three-year contract expired September 2nd. ISO says unless a new contract is signed by September 7th, they'll be forced to cancel the first two weekends of performances of the 2012-2013 season. Graef says that's untrue and he's still waiting to hear back from management on their latest offer

Jack Brennan, Principal Timpanist with the ISO, says they have offered to meet with management on September 5. However, Jackie Groth, Vice President of Finance and Interim President and CEO of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra said differently in a statement to 93 WIBC.

"Communications obviously are more challenging when the parties aren't face to face or take to the media to relay messages, as the union apparently has chosen to do," Groth says. "We know nothing of any September 5 date and likewise believe we've made it clear that the ISO was unwilling to accept a one-year deal on the terms proposed. We will look forward to addressing any open issues with the musicians directly."

Last week, Graef says management wanted to reduce the number of musicians from 87 to 63, cut pay by 45 percent, reduce the working year from 52 weeks to 36 weeks and drastically reduce their pension. Graef says such a deal would knock ISO out of the league of the nation's big orchestras. Meantime, management is trying to erase an annual $10 million budget deficit.

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