Thursday, December 9, 2010

This Time for Sure at the Charleston Symphony Orchestra

There was a whole lot of nothin' going on in Detroit today, but yesterday in Charleston it looks as if the orchestra will be up and running again.

Although the Charleston Symphony Orchestra board and musicians reached a contract agreement last week, they hadn't settled the sticky matter of a National Labor Review Board complaint that the musicians' union had filed against the orchestra for stopping work last March.

Yesterday, as reported on the Charleston Post and Courier website, the union will drop the complaint in return for musician control over 23% of the board seats. As constituted, that means that the musicians will nominate members to hold 5 of 21 seats. They had asked for 10.

They had also asked that the board president and negotiating chair resign; no word on whether that will happen.

The Charleston Symphony lost 12 musicians in this contract--they're down to only 24--and their base pay is now only $14,000. But hopefully, the musicians now can feel as if they have a voice, some degree of agency over their own situation. I wouldn't want to be at the next board meeting, though.