Monday, December 6, 2010

Charleston Symphony Board and Musicians Reach Agreement. Never Mind, No They Don't.

They're certainly keeping things interesting down there.

Last Wednesday, we heard that the board and musicians had agreed to a contract that would get the Charleston Symphony Orchestra up and running again. (The CSO suspended operations in March.) It cuts the number of musicians from 36 to 24 (who will only get $14,000/year plus health insurance) and trims the budget by $1 million (to only $1.3 million).

But there's still one small matter to settle: the musicians still have a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board against the orchestra brass (no pun intended) for shutting down operations back in March.

The musicians and the local American Federation of Musicians are smartly using this as leverage to gain some board power. First, they want board president Ted Legasey and board bargaining committee head Marty Klaper gone. Then, the musicians want 10 new board members to be appointed from a list of nominees they provide.

Today, the board made their own counter-offer. No word yet from the union on whether it accepts.

This is a sprightly show of moxie on the part of the Charleston band members, and a wise move. At a time when there's simply no money, grab control.