Season Of Discontent Poll

A recent article in the 12/11/2012 Minneapolis Star Tribune by Kristin Tillotson focuses on growing frustration among Minnesota Orchestra Association (MOA) and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) ticket buyers over the extended lockouts. Tillotson’s article got me thinking about the degree of volatility among stakeholders and I’m curious to know whether or not readers notice any substantive difference in such things from one labor dispute to the next.

To that end, let’s use a poll to find out. Granted, terms such as volatility, contentiousness, etc. are mostly subjective when applied to labor disputes, but you should use your own understanding to make a decision for the poll. In this sense, there’s no right or wrong interpretation.

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 “Season Of Discontent Poll

  1. I chose Philadelphia, not necessarily because it was more contentious than those others listed, but because this iconic orchestra – among the world’s very best – screwed retirees out of promised benefits, lowered wages by 30%, cut the full-time orchestra from 105 + 2 librarians to 95 – 2 librarians, raised heath charges and sent important principal players looking elsewhere for work. So far, the only major orchestra to declare bankruptcy while owning the Academy of Music and possessing a $120-140 million endowment just to get out of musicians’ pension liability for which their annual cost was far less than the attorneys’ fees spent on the bankruptcy. The disrespect shown to these wonderful musicians knows no bounds.

  2. I think the MN situation since it’s ongoing will win, but so far Louisville for me is unprecedented in the level of contentiousness because there wasn’t only a threat of replacing the musicians, it was put into motion, and that puts it on an entirely different level.

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