Potential Agreement In San Francisco

No, it isn’t an April Fool’s Day prank, the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) released a statement late in the day on Easter Sunday, 3/31/2013 announcing a tentative agreement between the orchestra and its striking musicians. Details are few, but if the agreement is ratified by the musicians, concert activity will begin as early as Tuesday, April 2, 2013.

newspaperAgreement details are as of yet unknown and it is safe to presume that both sides will only release select excerpts following formal ratification. We can expect to see copies of the complete agreement anywhere from one to three weeks thereafter.

According to the SFS statement, the agreement is for two years plus what appears to be some retroactive time covering the period between when the previous agreement expired and the new agreement is ratified.

If you are looking for a little April Fools’ Day fun, try this on for size: after visiting one of my favorite jargon generator websites to see about putting together a spoof press release, it unwittingly produced the perfect combination of ironic and funny on the very first search.

  • Search terms: “new model + sustainability”
  • Jargon result: “evaluate long-term exit strategies”

It doesn’t get any funnier than that.

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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4 thoughts on “Potential Agreement In San Francisco

  1. Search terms: “new model + sustainability”
    Jargon result: “evaluate long-term exit strategies”

    Yikes!

    It’s almost as if somebody in Minnesota hacked into the algorithm!

  2. A two year agreement isn’t unheard of but certainly more common in scenarios where unresolved issues and/or impending big decisions loom. And to be fair, the latter can be positive just as much as negative occurrences. If you were ordering meat, think medium rare.

  3. Good point. And two years should give enough time for the recent recovery of the stock market to work its way from the SFS’s endowment (via the annual draws) into the budget; hopefully, both the management and the musicians will by then have a clearer picture of the orchestra’s longer-term financial prospects.

    Let’s just hope that the financial powers-that-be don’t crash the world economy again …

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