WCO Management Hit With NLRB Complaint

October 23, 2008 at 11:00 am | Posted in Press Release | Leave a comment

Oct. 23, 2008
NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Todd Jelen
email: tj7118@yahoo.com

Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra Management Hit With NLRB Complaint

The strike impacting the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra took a legal turn Tuesday as the group’s musicians socked the organization with an Unfair Labor Practice Charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

The strike, which began Oct. 1 over largely non-economic provisions, has already canceled several of the ensemble’s performances.

The NLRB complaint centers on how management presented their October 20th contract offer and how they have retaliated against orchestra members by their cancellation of performances. The management offer indicated that if the terms of its new offer were not accepted as stated, and if a continuing work stoppage caused the cancellation of any of November’s scheduled rehearsals or performances, future offers would be regressive.

The musicians assert that this meets the NLRB’s definition of bad faith bargaining. The musicians’ legal counsel indicated that using the threat of future regressive proposals in order to impose the current proposal is generally viewed as bad faith bargaining.

The strike, which has seemed close to resolution during the past two weeks, mostly concerns job security and work rules appropriate for a part-time ensemble such as the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.

For instance, a major sticking point has been the board’s demand to greatly expand its capacity to terminate any musician for any reason, rejecting the necessity to prove “just cause” when firing a player. Additionally, management wants to make overnight tours mandatory for WCO musicians, thereby putting in jeopardy the musicians’ other employment.

The strike came after eight months of negotiations failed to make progress on these issues. The NLRB complaint was sent to the federal agency’s Milwaukee regional office.

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