San Antonio Stakeholders Are Talking Again

Originally, Tuesday, 1/2/18 held the potential for being a watershed day for the San Antonio Symphony (SAS). The organization’s board was expected to meet and discuss options moving forward in the wake of a newly formed nonprofit’s decision to pull out of the six-month-old successorship arrangement (details).

Given the amount of potential injury associated with the dissolution, bankruptcy was an option firmly on the table.

If that weren’t enough, the orchestra’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expired on Sunday, 12/31/2017.

The good news is both parties ended up meeting on Tuesday for a formal bargaining session and planned musician picketing activity was postponed in light of that progress.

Play and TalkThe musicians are planning on reporting for the first scheduled rehearsal today, 1/3/18, at 10am CT. This indicates both parties have agreed to some form of play and talk, which is when both sides agree to continue with scheduled events while negotiations ensue.

Meanwhile, the SAS board is expected to meet today, 1/3/18 at 4pm CT.

According to one stakeholder’s internal communication, the situation has been described as fluid. That’s as good indication there should be no expectations beyond the musicians taking part in the morning rehearsal and the board meeting during the late afternoon.

This article will be updated with new information when/if it becomes available.

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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