New York, NY – The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) filed Unfair Labor Practice charges today with Region 18 of the National Labor Relations Board in Minneapolis against the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) Society for failing to provide relevant information and for refusing to bargain in good faith toward a successor agreement covering SPCO musicians.
The SPCO has demanded the AFM agree to permit the unlimited use of all recorded audio and video content made since the inception of the orchestra in 1959, but the employer has repeatedly refused to identify the titles of the recorded works and the identities of the musicians and artists who performed the recordings. The AFM is the exclusive collective bargaining representative for electronic media services for SPCO musicians, and for all other union orchestras throughout the US and Canada. For other subjects of bargaining, SPCO musicians are also represented by the Twin Cities Musicians’ Union, AFM Local 30-‐ 73. A lockout imposed by the organization’s Board of Directors will enter its fifth month on Thursday. The other major Twin Cities orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, was locked out by its employer at midnight, October 1, 2012.
“Apparently, the SPCO board is more interested in withholding wages, health care, and pension benefits from the orchestra than answering questions about its contract demands,” said AFM Read More
A string of orchestral developments
If ever there was a day you needed a scorecard to follow the wrinkles of the Twin Cities two orchestral conflicts today was that day.
Early on came news that the American Federation of Musicians has filed an unfair labor practices complaint against the Saint Paul Chamber Society, the formal name given to SPCO management.
A release from the AFM put it this way:”The SPCO has demanded the AFM agree to permit the unlimited use of all recorded audio and video content made since the inception of the orchestra in 1959, but the employer has repeatedly refused to identify the titles of the recorded works and the identities of the musicians and artists who performed the recordings. The AFM is the exclusive collective bargaining representative for electronic media services for SPCO musicians, and for all other union orchestras throughout the US and Canada.”
“Apparently, the SPCO board is more interested in withholding wages, health care, and pension benefits from the orchestra than answering questions about its contract demands,” said AFM International President Ray Hair. “Rather than nurture and protect an artistic treasure, the SPCO board has inflicted pain and suffering, destroying the lives of musicians who have brought beauty to the Twin Cities area for more than 50 years.”
It took SPCO management a while to respond to this, and before they did came the next orchestral nugget: the musicians of the Min Read More
I am not a born Hoosier. Twenty years ago, as a young horn player I was an
audition finalist for orchestras in Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Columbus,
Ohio. I had already held positions in the orchestras of Memphis, Honolulu
and Durban, South Africa.
I chose to come to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and play under
Maestro Raymond Leppard for the people of Indiana. The ISO was known as a
“destination orchestra,” one of the top 17 in the nation – one of the few
orchestras that toured, recorded and performed year round.
I chose Indianapolis. I chose to live here, to raise my family here, and to
make music here. I am now a Hoosier.
My story is similar to other transplants within our community, including
many of the musicians of the ISO. We are part of an international talent
pool that chose Indianapolis. The ISO musicians come from all over the
world, yet we are now Hoosiers.
When the ISO musicians were locked out for five weeks last fall, the
community support was uplifting and sustaining. Countless individuals signed
petitions, wrote letters, attended our concerts and offered encouragement
during our lunchtime concerts outside Hilbert Circle Theatre. It became
clear that our community wants, needs – and deeply values – a full-time
major symphony orchestra.
In order to return the music to the people of Indiana and Read More
SPCO Principal Second Violinist Kyu-Young Kim won a position with the New York Philharmonic in their most recent audition held on Saturday February 16. The SPCO musicians have been locked out by their management since October 21.
“While I am thrilled at this opportunity to play with one of the world’s great orchestras,” said Kim, “I am saddened to be leaving the SPCO under these circumstances. In the space of four months, the lockouts of both orchestras have changed the Twin Cities from a destination metropolis for musicians to a place that many of us are actively trying to leave. ”
Kim and his wife Pitnarry Shin, a cellist who won a job with the Minnesota Orchestra in April 2012, moved to the Twin Cities in the fall of 2011. “The last thing we wanted to do was displace our family again so soon after moving here, but this is the reality of the lockouts,” said Kim. “Our friends and colleagues throughout the music world are shocked at what’s going on here. It really feels like the managements of both orchestras are just ripping the heart out of the cultural life of this great community.”
Kim was also very actively involved with the negotiations at the SPCO. Said Carole Mason Smith, chair of the Musicians Negotiations Committee, “It’s a great loss for the SPCO. We’ve said repeatedly to management that we will not be able to recruit or retain the talent that this orchestra needs to remain Read More
Tim Zavadil normally plays clarinet with the Minnesota Orchestra. This week, he will pull out his saxophone and join the Minnesota Opera orchestra for a production of “Hamlet” at Ordway Center in St. Paul.
It’s a welcome chance for Zavadil to play at home after chasing gigs across the country since he was locked out at the Minnesota Orchestra on Oct. 1.
He is one of about 120 out-of-work Twin Cities musicians caught up in unprecedented labor disputes dragging into their fifth month. For the first time in their professional lives, they are patching together a living from unemployment compensation, union welfare benefits, friendly donors and freelance work.
Musicians at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra have been locked out since Oct. 21. Like their Minneapolis colleagues, they are watching expenses and racking up frequent-flier miles.
“One week I moved three times,” said Rebecca Albers, a violist at the Minnesota Orchestra, describing how she relies on friends in other cities for lodging. “The travel can be expensive, but I’m extremely grateful for the work.”
The two major Twin Cities orchestras, with combined annual budgets of about $40 million, sell about 380,000 tickets annually.
While orchestras elsewhere in the country have had labo Read More