More From Louisville: Ball’s In Your Court

It appears that we didn’t have to wait very long for the next move in Louisville following the Louisville Orchestra (LO) board’s decision to re-engage the musicians in bargaining. On 3/29/2012, the Louisville Orchestra Musicians Association (LOMA) issued a press statement indicating that they are willing to return to work vis-a-vis a one year agreement, but only under the following stipulations.

  • The organization hires a mutually agreeable consultant to conduct an institutional evaluation. At the end of a one year period, the consultant’s recommendations regarding operations, finances, and “long-range plans” must be accepted by both musicians and the association.
  • The consultant’s fees and expenses will be paid from the LO’s coffers.

In short, the musicians want to modify the consultant approach they’ve been purporting for several months into a sort of binding arbitration process (but without actually calling it arbitration).

All of this is in response to some indications earlier this week from the LO board that they are once again willing to consider binding arbitration, however, it was unclear if they would consider alerting terms from their previous offer for binding arbitration that the musicians’ subsequently rejected.

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  • That a mutually agreeable, nationally recognized consultant in the orchestral arts profession be hired to review operations, finances, and long-range plans of the Louisville Orchestra for a 1-year period. This person must have a successful history of running orchestras and working with orchestras comparable to the Louisville Orchestra. The selected person will oversee and analyze every aspect of the organization — its structure, operations, and collective bargaining agreement with the Louisville Orchestra Musicians’ Association.
    • The consultant will have the authority to make binding recommendations as to the structure of the Louisville Orchestra, including its management, board, and contractual agreements with its members, conductors and visiting artists;
    • The Louisville Orchestra Musicians’ Association will commit to binding themselves to the recommended changes;
    • The consultant will be paid from existing funds of the Louisville Orchestra and the Fund for the Arts.
  • In the interim, the musicians will agree to a 1-year Bridge Agreement covering, as the LOI has proposed, 30 weeks of work under the proposed $925/week base pay for the remaining musicians (all those employed as of May 2011 who have not resigned voluntarily in writing) under the terms of the most recent agreement. Musicians who, as you have acknowledged, may need to be hired to perform parts or instruments missing from the current remaining musicians will be covered by the same agreement.
  • The musicians are also willing to donate revenues received by Keep Louisville Symphonic efforts to help offset the cost of health care expenses.

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It seems clear in some of the additional terms that the musicians are attempting to render moot the LO’s long standing position against allowing musicians to participate in organizations such the Keep Louisville Symphonic (KLS). After all, it will be difficult for the LO to accept the funds while simultaneously insisting that the musicians not participate in KLS efforts.

What isn’t immediately clear from the terms is whether or not the musicians will insist the LO hire a minimum number of musicians regardless of how many of what the offer defines as “remaining musicians” return to work. As it is, the number of musicians employed has been a fundamental sticking point for both sides throughout the length of the conflict so it will be intriguing to see how that shakes out, assuming the offer moves forward.

The 3/29/2012 edition of the Louisville Courier-Journal has an article by Elizabeth Kramer that provides a good bit of additional detail on all of this, including some comments from the LOMA’s new legal counsel. It is well worth your time so drop by and give it a read.

In the meantime, you can download LOMA’s press statement, accompanying proposals, and a copy of the statement delivered to the LO board of directors on 3/26/2012 by LOMA Committee chair Kim Tichenor.

[ilink url=”http://adaptistration.com/wp-content/uploads/Press-Release-LOMA-Proposes-End-to-Lockout-2012.03.29.pdf” style=”download”]Download pdf file[/ilink]

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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2 thoughts on “More From Louisville: Ball’s In Your Court

  1. “It seems clear in some of the additional terms that the musicians are attempting to render moot the LO’s long standing position against allowing musicians to participate in organizations such the Keep Louisville Symphonic (KLS). After all, it will be difficult for the LO to accept the funds while simultaneously insisting that the musicians participate in KLS efforts.”

    The second sentence. . .surely you meant something different?

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