Baltimore Symphony Gets A New Board Chair

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In the wake of the acrimonious labor dispute that led to a summer-season killing work stoppage, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) announced that the board chair who led the group through that stakeholder fight is stepping down. While it isn’t unusual to see key leaders depart after the end of a bitter labor dispute, the BSO is asserting the change in leadership is nothing more than coincidental timing. The outgoing chair, …

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Should Music Librarians Deserve Be Part Of The Collective Bargaining Agreement? St. Louis Symphony Doesn’t Think So.

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Sometimes, the most influential occurrences fly entirely under the radar. Case in point, an ongoing labor disagreement at the St. Louis Symphony (SLS) that may influence whether music librarians can be included in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and therefore entitled to the same compensation, benefits, and protections as other orchestra musicians. The disagreement is straightforward: the SLS musicians believe librarians they should be included in the CBA, the employer doesn’t. …

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A Better Way To Find New Answers To Old Questions

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In the process of interviewing Seattle Symphony Orchestra stakeholders about their new musician pension plan, one item that stands out is the approach both sides adopted in order to arrive at their outcome. While it certainly falls into some of the parameters for interest based bargaining, what really struck me is how much more it aligns with the “Yes, And” approach toward improvisation. If you aren’t already familiar with it, I …

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How Recent Changes To The US Tax Code Introduce Risk To Orchestra Labor Relations

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An article by Daniel Braden in the 2/11/18 edition of the Morning Call examines how recent changes in the US tax code will have a decidedly negative impact on orchestra musicians classified as employees (as opposed to self employed contractors). The author is a former tax consultant specializing in serving musicians and according to his analysis of the new laws, employee classified musicians are going to lose the ability to deduct …

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We Still Have More In Common Than Not

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It never hurts to brush up on labor relations which is why I wanted to point over to a post here from 3/22/2012 titled “What The Other Side Gets Right.” The article is the result of research for a conference panel discussion that involved inviting a cross section of managers, board members, and musicians to answer one of two straightforward questions: Orchestra musicians were asked “What do you think Boards/Managers get …

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