It’s Tax Time + San Francisco Cancels Tour

I’m buried up to my neck in preparing everything tax related to send off to my accountant extraordinaire (if you’re local Chicago, get in touch, for his firm’s contact info); as such, I’m shirking my blogging duties today by posting some San Francisco Symphony related links but rest assured, I’ll be back in the saddle again tomorrow and hopefully, there will be some good news to post about San Fran.

  1. Janos Gereben updated his San Francisco Classical Voice (SFCV) article from 3/12/13 with some new details so if you haven’t gone back since the original publication date, you definitely should.
  2. Thanks to Michael Strickland for pointing out his 3/14/2013 article which includes some very useful perspectives along with a healthy dose of first person reporting from the initial press conferences.
  3. The ever sharp Lisa Hirsch has posted a couple of SFS related articles over at Iron Tongue of Midnight, my fav (so far) is the one from 3/15/2013 @ 1:46PM.
  4. And speaking of the Gerben post in #1, the 3/16/2013 edition of published an article by Stephen Smoliar who recognized the value in Gerben’s post by focusing on the labor relations angle. And speaking from personal experience as an arts consultant, I can testify that personalities and agendas usually have far more to do with labor disputes than straightforward disagreements on wages and benefits.

Update: The SFS and musicians failed to reach an agreement and the East Coast tour is officially cancelled. Janos Gereben has details at SFCV along with the musician statement.

For the past four days the SFS Musicians’ Negotiating Committee has been negotiating with the Administration in an earnest effort to reach a deal that would allow the orchestra to leave on its scheduled East Coast tour with concerts at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. Talks broke down at 4 am this morning. When it was apparent there would be no agreement by the deadline, the Federal Mediator who has been working with the parties for the last several weeks suggested a 60-day cooling off period. The proposed cooling off period required a media blackout but would have allowed the tour to proceed if approved by the orchestra.

Today the Negotiating Committee met with the orchestra and presented the Federal Mediator’s suggested proposal. After a thorough review of the options, the orchestra voted down the cooling off period. The strike is continuing and we anticipate that the Carnegie tour is now cancelled.

There is no official word on whether or not the negotiation committee recommended that the rank and file accept or reject the mediator’s proposal.

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 “It’s Tax Time + San Francisco Cancels Tour”

  1. Gosh. Wow. I guess some lessons just need to be repeated by each and every single organization before someone sees a correlation and says, “hey! geez. This NEVER works out really well.”
    Good luck with public sentiment. You know..those pesky guys/gals writing those big checks to keep you playing and working in the office. At some point, they’d just rather you shut up and go away…then what? Maybe they should start hiring people from organizations that are no longer existent to advise from the corner wearing a shirt that says, “Former ________ of the _______, Founded _____. Died ______.”

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