Breaking Down The Elizabeth Rowe Complaint

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Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) principal flute Elizabeth Rowe is suing her employer “to recover over $200,000 in unpaid wages unequal to the pay of a comparable male musician.” We’re going to examine the bulk of her complaint on a point by point basis. It would be surprising to see the suit go to trial but if it does, it would undoubtedly have profound impact on how orchestras approach individual musician agreements. …

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Time To Tame The Wild West Of Equal Pay

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I had the pleasure of being an on-air guest for a segment of KPCC 89.3’s AirTalk; lively and in-depth discussions of city news, politics, science, entertainment, the arts, and more, hosted by Larry Mantle. We talked about Elizabeth Rowe’s lawsuit and took a deeper dive into how individual agreements work along with some of the connected issues. You can listen to the segment online at AirTalk’s program page for this episode. …

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Equal Work, Equal Pay Lawsuit Could Change The Entire Landscape Of Musician Individual Agreements

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For far too long, orchestras have relied on a combination of hierarchical tradition and path of least resistance to arrive at terms for musician individual agreements. Unfortunately, this is exactly the sort of environment that leads to cronyism, discrimination, and resentment. I like to call it the garbage in, garbage out method of negotiating individual agreements. I strongly recommend everyone take the time to begin reading up on a recent bombshell …

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There’s A Reason Why You Pay Musicians

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The 6/27/2018 edition of the Boston Globe published an article by Malcom Gay that reports on what appears to be a sizeable purge of the all-volunteer Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Orchestra chorus’ have always occupied a peculiar stakeholder position inside the larger orchestra field. In many orchestras, chorus musicians are unpaid volunteers, which stands in stark contrast to their instrumental peers. That’s how the Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Festival Chorus is structured so …

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Top-Tier Musician Compensation 2018

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It’s time to revisit base musician compensation levels at the top eight highest paying orchestras. For a number of these orchestras, the 2017/18 season marks the end of their existing collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and they have yet to ratify a new contract. In each of those instances, the outcomes will have a large impact on what many orchestra musicians consider their organization’s ability to compete for the best on-stage talent. …

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