#TBT Equal Pay For Equal Work

Granted, no one likes staring down the barrel of salary concessions, but I’m especially concerned about where things are going to fall for substitute musicians once the current round of collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) become public.

If early reports about The Met’s recent agreement are accurate, we’ll see the trend of shortchanging substitute musicians expand to paying incoming contract musicians less than their veteran colleagues.

With so much salary pain to share since the onset of the pandemic, it’s easy to forget that substitute musicians were already being paid less than their contracted peers at the majority of living wage orchestras. To that end, here are some articles from the last several years on the topic of substitute musician parity that you can use to help balance your perception.

The Difference Between Per-Service and Salary-Based Musicians

Minnesota Musicians Ratify Substitute Pay Disparity Through 2020

The Data Behind Substitute Pay Rates

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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