Tentative Agreement In Omaha

According to information released late Thursday afternoon, the Omaha Symphony Association (OSA) and the Omaha Symphony Musicians’ Organization (OSMO) are close to reaching an agreement after performing the entire season on an expired contract. The OSMO conducted a ratification meeting late Thursday evening. If ratified by the musicians, details of the new agreement will be posted as soon as possible (so check back later today). In the meantime, you can read more about the prolonged negotiations by doing a search for "Omaha" via Adaptistration’s new Google custom search feature n the right-hand navigation column (more on that later, but it’s a fantastically efficient search tool, much better than its predecessor) as well as the OSMO webpage and the OSA webpage.

UPDATE 2/8/08: Further details were made availalbe in a press release issued by the OSA…


For Immediate Release – February 8, 2008

Omaha Symphony and Omaha Symphony Musicians’
Association reach contract agreement

Omaha, Neb – The Omaha Symphony Association (OSA) and the
Omaha Symphony Musicians’ Association, represented by Local No. 70-558 of the
American Federation of Musicians, are pleased to announce they have reached an
agreement in their contract negotiations.

The agreement,
which was ratified by the musicians on Feb. 7 and accepted by the Omaha
Symphony Board of Directors on Feb. 8, encompasses a 2-year contract period
through the end of the 2008/09 Season.

Per the agreement,
salaries and per service wages for musicians will increase 4% for the 2007/08
Season, retroactive to Sept. 1, 2007, with a 1.5% signing bonus. For the
2008/09 Season, there will be a 3% increase with a 1% signing bonus. Health
care benefits paid by the OSA for the musicians will increase 10.6% for the
2007/08 Season and 11.1% for the 2008/09 Season.

In addition, other
changes involving instrument insurance, travel allowances, and per service
guarantees were part of the accepted agreement.

“We are most
pleased that a successful conclusion has been reached in our contract
negotiations with the Musicians’ Association. The Board of Directors is absolutely
committed to ensuring the long-term financial sustainability and artistic
health of this orchestra. This contract allows us to move forward focused on
that goal,” said William Fitzgerald, chairman, Omaha Symphony Board of

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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