Breaking News: JSO Musicians File Unfair Labor Practice

According to a press release issued by the Musicians of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, they have filed an unfair labor practice with the National Labor Relations Board against the Jacksonville Symphony Association (JSA). The charge claims that the JSA unlawfully locked the musicians out…

The full press release reads as follows:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jacksonville Symphony Association Charged With Illegal Lockout

The Negotiating  Committee of the Jacksonville Symphony Players’ Association has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.  They are alleging that the Jacksonville Symphony Association’s lockout is unlawful because the law requires the parties to refrain from striking or locking out until 60 days has passed after the service of notice.  This lockout occurred prior to the expiration of the 60 day period.

In addition to requesting full back pay for any lost wages and benefits, the musicians have also asked the NLRB to seek an injunction directing the JSA to bring the orchestra back to work.

When asked whether or not the process used by the National Labor Relations Board to hear unfair labor practice charges could facilitate the musicians returning to work in time for First Coast Nutcracker performances, Leonard Leibowitz, JSO musicians’ legal counsel indicated that it was unlikely the process could meet that deadline.

There is no official response to the unfair labor practice charges from the JSA although a negotiations update on their website dated 12/1/2007 states:

“We remain hopeful that negotiations can resume promptly to reach an agreement in time for the Orchestra to perform for the Holiday season. At this time, no performances after December 2, 2007 have been cancelled.

Representatives from First Coast Nutcracker, Inc. have not returned repeated phone inquires about current or planned ticket policies. In a related matter, the 11/29/07 edition of the Florida Times-Union reports in an article by Roger Bull that JSO Executive Director Alan Hopper has indicated that although advertisements for the Nutcracker performances continue to indicate that live music will be provided during performances, they are “being rewritten to be more nebulous.”

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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3 thoughts on “Breaking News: JSO Musicians File Unfair Labor Practice

  1. The situation that the musicians of the JSO find themselves in is an absolute embarassment to the City of Jacksonville. Management picked an unbelievable time to lock-out these wonderfully talented musicians. Did van veldt and alan hopper strategically plan the lock-out during the holiday season thinking the musicians would bend over – WOHICA? Jacksonville is so lucky to have a symphony of the calibre it has…but maybe not for long!

    What a shame!

  2. Or…. did the musicians choose the holiday period to walk out of negotiations without any compromises on their part thinking the JSO and many generous benefactors would bend over and give in to unreasonable demands? Two sides to every coin and the coin is all this is about.

    signed,
    a very disgruntled subscriber

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