Management Retaliates Against Musicians

February 27, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Posted in Press Release | Leave a comment

Feb. 27, 2009 Contact: Todd Jelen

NEWS RELEASE Phone: 216-314-2000

WCO Management is Retaliating

Against Musicians for Standing up for Their Legal Rights

One step forward and ten steps back.

That seems to be the trajectory of the long negotiations between the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and its musicians on Thursday after management’s negotiators reneged on previously agreed-upon provisions and submitted new proposals on mileage rates and guaranteed work that are less than even the last contract.

The strikingly altered proposals made it necessary for the union to take the new provisions back to the orchestra’s rank and file Thursday night. “Since this new proposal could significantly affect musicians’ ability to survive, we felt it was necessary and prudent to consult the musicians before responding,” said Todd Jelen, musicians’ negotiating committee member. “Although they accused us of being unwilling to bargain, the negotiating committee can’t respond to such drastic changes without consulting our members.”

Now, instead of 75 guaranteed services, the board’s new contract proposal slashes those services, and the musicians’ guaranteed salary, by 40 percent. Those guaranteed services could drop 60 percent if the board gives the musicians only six months notice. Local 166 of the American Federation of Musicians is planning to file amended charges of retaliatory bargaining and bad-faith bargaining against the WCO’s board.

Continue Reading Management Retaliates Against Musicians…


Join WCO Musicians for a free evening of Chamber Music

February 23, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Posted in Performances | Leave a comment

The Musicians of the WCO will play a free concert on Friday, February 27th at 7:30pm. The program includes the Mozart Serenade for Wind Octet in c minor (kv. 388), the Mendelssohn a minor String Quartet (op. 13), and the Brahms A Major Serenade (op. 16). We invite you to join us for this celebration of chamber music at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 4100 Nakoma Road, Madison. Free admission.

Thomas F. Lee: WCO’s musicians deserve your support

February 20, 2009 at 4:36 pm | Posted in Support | Leave a comment

courtesy of the Capital Times, 2/15/09:

Dear Editor:

On behalf of the tens of thousands of American Federation of Musicians members across North America, I am writing to express support for the dedicated musicians of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.

Unfortunately, the orchestra’s management is embarking on an approach that hurts the orchestra, the musicians and the greater Madison community by canceling the Feb. 27 concert and insisting on the reopening of talks on issues that have already been agreed to by both sides of the negotiating table. Musicians and their negotiating committee have spent countless hours and significant resources in order to come to an agreement with management on many of the issues.

The musicians care deeply about the orchestra and the arts community in Madison. Performing in the orchestra is more than just a job — it’s a passion and an honor as a service to the people of Wisconsin. Orchestras generate income for cities, help to attract new businesses, create more vibrant and attractive communities, and help to inspire future generations to explore classical music.

By seeking to undo all the work accomplished so far in the negotiations and to cancel the next concert, management is taking a giant step backward.

I encourage everyone to support the orchestra’s musicians and help to keep the orchestra strong as a staple of Madison life. The musicians are a terrific group of exceptional artists and deserve the support of all in the community.

Thomas F. Lee, president

American Federation of Musicians

New York, N.Y.

Orchestra negotiations must resume and result in fair contract

February 11, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Posted in Support | Leave a comment

A letter to the Captial Times from ROPA President,
Carla Lehmeier-Tatum — 2/09/2009

Dear Editor: The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra is an outstanding orchestra and a community asset. The strength of WCO is currently threatened by short-sighted actions of the WCO board of directors and management in the course of negotiations with their musicians.

I am writing on behalf of the Regional Orchestra Players Association (ROPA) to urge the community to support its musicians and encourage the board of directors to continue the current contract negotiations with the spirit of compromise and quick resolution. ROPA represents 5,000 musicians in 77 American orchestras. Continue Reading Orchestra negotiations must resume and result in fair contract…

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