Some Early Thoughts On Indianapolis

Originally, the plan for today’s post was to take a closer look at the growing labor dispute brewing at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO). On Monday, the ISO musicians issued a press statement that asserted the employer informed them they will not only extend the existing furlough but cut off health insurance.

I reached out to the musician representatives and the employer to learn as much as possible but as of today, I’m still waiting for a reply from the employer.

Given the reality that a labor dispute in today’s environment is about as advisable as lighting a match in a dark room inside a Bugs Bunny cartoon, this isn’t something to examine lightly.

According to the musicians, the employer appears to be using health care benefits as a bargaining chip in collective bargaining negotiations for the current agreement that expires on September 6, 2020.

We’ll continue examining this in greater detail tomorrow but in the meantime, you can catch up on a few more details via local news coverage.

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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