Letter from AFM President Thomas Lee

October 23, 2008 at 10:49 am | Posted in Support | Leave a comment

AFM President Thomas Lee

AFM President Thomas F. Lee

October 17, 2008

Doug Gerhart, Executive Director
Thomas Grantham, Chairperson
Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
321 East Main Street
P.O. Box 171
Madison, WI 53703-0171

Dear Mr. Gerhart and Mr. Grantham:

On behalf of the tens of thousands of members of the American Federation of Musicians, I am writing to urge the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra Board to reconsider the approach that it has taken with the WCO musicians and to come to a reasonable accord on a new contract.

The WCO musicians have developed a reputation of having a strong commitment to the WCO, its audience, and the community at large. These highly skilled musicians are among the best in the region, yet their wages are extremely humble at only $10,000-$15,000 a year.

Given this reality, it is distressing to see the WCO insist on attendance requirements that would make it impossible for these musicians to fulfill their other employment obligations. It is the norm for orchestras in the rest of the country to provide the flexibility for musicians to make a living from multiple employers. Those orchestras understand that musicians need that additional income to survive.

This is just one of the issues in contention but is the one that has the most potentially devastating impact on the musicians. These musicians have long enjoyed a terrific relationship with management and are some of the most dedicated symphony musicians in the world. they are reasonable and are willing to reach an agreement that is fair to all parties; however, their right to earn additional income so that they can provide for themselves and their families must not be infringed upon.


Thomas F. Lee


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