Well it seems the Cleveland Orchestra is the first to officially arrive at the contract negotiation home stretch. Although “arrive” and home stretch” are subjective terms.
Management and musicians have agreed to “talk and play” by extending the current contract into he beginning of the 2004-2005 concert season. This will allow them to open the season without interruption to their concert schedule, which from a PR standpoint is a good thing for both sides.
But “talk and play” is a temporary solution at best. Under the surface it implies there are enough serious issues remaining to prevent completing the talks in the first place.
Although this decision removes some of the pressure built up by management’s decision to do some negotiating in the local Cleveland press, those pressures will be quickly replaced each day the talks continue into the new season.