After multiple weeks of Federally mediated bargaining, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic musicians released a press statement on 12/6/2020 to announce those efforts have failed to resolve the ongoing labor dispute.
The dispute was triggered in October 2020 when the employer decided to terminate an existing collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and replace it with non-union work contracts. According to the musicians, they used mediation to offer sizable concessions to help the organization weather the pandemic.
“We musicians wholeheartedly want to work with the management toward creative solutions to the challenges that the pandemic presents. We have volunteered on phone lines, waived broadcast fees, and offered many reasonable proposals. We requested and attended a number of mediation sessions in which we showed our willingness to work toward a solution in good faith. Ultimately, we offered management an extraordinarily high degree of flexibility in regard to performances throughout the term of the pandemic, and for a period of six months afterward.”
Moving forward the musicians expect to pursue independent arbitration to address the illegal cancellation of their CBA.
At the heart of the dispute is whether the organization should be making long term strategic changes or focusing on short term adjustments to the existing CBA capable of absorbing pandemic revenue shortfalls. The musicians favor the latter while the employer is pushing for permanent, sizable concessions. When they were unable to secure those changes via bargaining, they decided to unilaterally terminate the agreement.
At of the time this article was written, the employer has not released a public statement.