Atlanta’s Latest Step In The Slow Burn Process Of Recapturing Lost Ground

The 3/5/2018 edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published an article by Bo Emerson that reports the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) and its musicians recently ratified a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) through the 2020/21 season.

Adaptistration People 034While a copy of the CBA has yet to be released, the AJC article reports the organization will return to “full strength” by the end of the term.

The real question there is which benchmark is being used when determining that number.

The ASO endured a round of haircuts but the most recent reduction in musician complement came via the four-year agreement that covered the 2014/15 – 2017/18 seasons. During that agreement, the orchestra dropped from 88 members down to 77. They are scheduled to come back up to 88 members by the end of the agreement’s term.

But if you go back to the labor dispute before that, the musician complement of 88 was the result of a cut from 93, which the orchestra maintained through the 2011/12 season.

We’ll know more once a copy of the agreement is available. We’ll also see about taking a deeper dive into non-monetary changes that came about from the concessionary 2014/15 agreement.

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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