Close To A Deal In Louisville?

We wouldn’t normally have back-to-back Louisville articles here unless there was something sincerely important to report but since next week’s schedule is assigned to Take A Friend To The Orchestra week contributions, it seemed fair to post a little something today about the potential for a deal emerging from Louisville within the next week.

A press statement issued by the Louisville Orchestra Musicians Association (LOMA) on 4/12/2012 asserts that both sides in the ongoing labor dispute “are very close to signing a 1-year bridge agreement.”

The parties are very close to signing a 1-year bridge agreement, where the current musicians will immediately return to work and all parties adhere to binding recommendations under a mutually agreeable orchestra professional; which the musicians have already agreed to. Metro Council President Jim King is brokering the negotiations, and all sides sincerely appreciate his determination in resolving this long-standing dispute.

When asked for clarification on the section excerpted above, LOMA media contact Ryan Hardesty indicated that the musicians have not proposed any names for individuals to serve in the capacity of arbitrator nor had the board agreed to accept binding recommendations outside of their previously stipulated arbitration terms.

Nonetheless, LOMA has scheduled a press conference this afternoon at 12:00 noon CT to discuss the current state of these talks so additional details will hopefully emerge.

All of this could amount to more of the same or it may finally produce something of substance. History indicates preparing for the former but in the end, it only takes one right idea both sides can agree on for things to resolve.

You’ll find updates here if anything substantive emerges.


  • 10:04am CT: Additional details on all of this in a recent article from Louisville Courier-Journal’s Elizabeth Kramer. It doesn’t seem that the deal is as potential as the musicians are purporting.
  • 10:06am CT: Download a copy of the LOMA press statement.
  • 2:00pm CT: It seems all of this was much ado about nothing. At LOMA’s press conference, the musicians said that “We initially called this press conference to talk about the current state of discussions with the Louisville Orchestra Board of Directors and its management to end our lockout. However, we have no comment this afternoon, as negotiations are moving forward and we do not want to upset that balance.” Download a copy of the entire LOMA statement (and subsequent non-answer).

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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