Atlanta Again? Still.

ADAPTISTRATION-GUY-086Well it looks like the news is now official although there have been rumblings about it throughout the usual channels for weeks now: the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) is headed toward another ugly labor dispute. Anyone who kept a close eye on the 2012 dispute likely understood that the settlement was anything but a resolution. If you missed that work stoppage you can catch up on the details via Adaptistration’s Atlanta Symphony article index and then head over to the 8/25/14 edition of ArtsATL which published a good overview of impending doom via an article by Jenny Jarvie.

In a nutshell, the concessions secured in 2012 dispute did not forestall a drop ticket sales and fundraising and the ASO is proposing additional wage and benefit cuts alongside further reductions in the number of core musicians which dropped from 95 to 88 back in 2012.

All things being equal, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise if this dispute snowballs into something far worse than the 2012 showdown. Stay tuned…

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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