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Progress in Detroit?

0 Robert Levine

Apparently.

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra and its striking musicians continued to make slow-but-steady progress in indirect talks this morning and afternoon, according to DSO executive vice president Paul Hogle.

“If we were not making progress,” Hogle said “we wouldn’t continue even with indirect talks. And we are absolutely willing to meet face to face when the framework necessary has been achieved.”

Hogle said the two sides exchanged views through an unnamed intermediary until late last night after a 5 p.m. deadline for a settlement had passed.

“We were here till 11 p.m.,” he said. “The union stayed even longer.”

At issue now are the specifics of how the musicians would allocate the proposed $34 million over three years in pay and benefits, as well as the $2 million in opt-in funds for community and educational outreach. The latter has been a bone of contention since it was first introduced in mid-January, with the union arguing that at least a part of that should be carved off to boost their pay and benefits. Management contends the terms of the donations prohibit that.

Under the DSO’s current proposal, musicians would have to digest pay cuts of more than 25 percent. The strike, which started Oct. 4, is now in its fourth month.


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