Yesterday’s announcement from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) musicians about their willingness to return to work without a contract is the closest thing the group has had to hope in some time. But before everyone begins rejoicing, there are conditions in the form of both sides agreeing to binding arbitration as a means to an end for the five month old strike…
At yesterday’s press conference, the musicians reportedly elaborated on their offer to return to work without a contract under the condition that the DSO agrees to binding arbitration. Moreover, the musicians suggested an arbitration process overseen by a board of three arbiters; one selected by the musicians, one selected by management, and the third selected by the initial two arbiters.
WQXR news posted an article on 3/1/2011 by Caroline Cooper and Brian Wise that examines the developments and includes my reaction to the news and after a good night’s sleep, I continue to believe that there’s some real potential here.
Likewise, the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News reported that management’s initial response was positive and that they looked forward to discussing the details.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the devil is in the details and there are plenty of items to discuss but compared to the negotiations to date, these should seem like a piece of cake. The 3/1/2011 Detroit Free Press article by Mark Stryker touched on a particularly meaningful point in the musicians’ proposal in the form of shared risk.
If both sides agree to the process, they stand to lose ground on items they’ve publicly drawn lines in the sand over.
At the same time, shared risk also means shared trust so one added benefit to this process, if it gets off the ground, is that it could be the first step toward rebuilding some of the trust that has been squandered during the dispute.
We’ll keep an eye on developments and see what shakes loose.
Postscript: Many thanks to UK based Twitter follower Roger Tomlinson (@BrandinyourHand) for coming up with today’s headline!