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.

This summer I had the privilege of working with the WCO musicians and attended one of the WCO Concerts on the Square. I saw firsthand the quality of the ensemble, the commitment from the community.

The symphonic community has been optimistic for resolution as we have observed the WCO musicians’ willingness to perform while they have participated in productive negotiations with their management.

The recent actions of the WCO board to cancel the Feb. 27 concert and to withdraw previously agreed-upon contractual items are not only a blow to musicians but also to the well being of the citizens of Madison. The loss of income to the musicians and the loss of revenue to the institution cause irreparable damage to the musicians, the institution and the community. The recent setback in the WCO negotiations contradicts our national goals of seeking to create jobs, generate income and support the corporations and institutions that are the pillars of our communities.

The WCO is a precious resource, and a critical component of the quality of life in Madison. WCO management must work with its musicians to reach a speedy and fair resolution of the current contract negotiations.

Carla Lehmeier-Tatum

ROPA president

Sandia Park, NM

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