On the eve of the English National Opera labor showdown, I wanted to take a moment to revisit some research I put together as part of the What’s Working and Must Work session within the 2012 American Orchestras Summit, hosted by the University of Michigan. Titled What The Other Side Gets Right, I invited a cross section of managers, board members, and musicians to answer one of two straightforward questions:
- Orchestra musicians were asked “What do you think Boards/Managers get right?”
- Board members and managers were asked “What do you think Musicians’ Unions get right?”
Although some individuals declined to participate due to high levels of animosity toward their fellow stakeholders, I found many of the replies from those who accepted the challenge to be enlightening.
To this day, I revisit those responses and interview notes whenever I’m feeling particularly dark about the future of the field. In many instances, the rationale behind answers serves as an uplifting confidence boost in the real potential for positive labor relations.
Unfortunately, the What’s Working and Must Work session ended up having (more than) a few additional panelists stuffed into the already healthy mix and my portion, as closing panelist, ended up with the short end of the stick receiving all of 390 seconds.
Having said that, the real irony here is this is the same event where International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) chair, Bruce Ridge, and League of American Orchestras President, Jesse Rosen, tore into one another like a bag of angry badgers.
Thankfully, all of the stakeholders who participated in the What The Other Side Gets Right survey gave their permission to publish their responses, and you can find those replies in a post from March 22, 2012.
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