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Tags: unions

Charleston decertifies

0 Robert Levine

I was reminded yesterday of a classic newspaper headline that combined obviousness with a complete lack of useful information: Something went wrong in jet crash, experts say Something similarly went wrong in the Charleston Symphony, according to Norman Lebrecht: In an unusual move that may prove a sign of the times, players in the Charleston

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The Role of the Orchestra Committee vs. the Local

0 Ann Drinan

An interesting musician session at the League’s June conference featured a panel discussing “The Role of the Orchestra Committee and the Local Union.” The panelists were Robert Levine, Principal Violist of the Milwaukee Symphony, Senior Editor at Polyphonic and former Chair of ICSOM; Tom  Jöstlein, Associate Principal Horn of the St. Louis Symphony, and Chris

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American Orchestras: Yes, it's a crisis

2 Tony Woodcock

“I am convinced that if the rate of change within an organization is less than the rate of change outside, the end is near.” – Jack Welch  In the last twelve months the Honolulu, Syracuse, and New Mexico Symphonies have … Continue reading

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Time to end the Detroit strike

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I am no longer working for the musicians’ union so I am just going to call it like I see it… It is time for the musicians of the DSO to make their best deal and go back to work. Sadly, we have seen this so many times – musicians using brute force to try

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Community outreach – ideas for guidelines

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It appears that a big reason that the Detroit Symphony potential settlement fell apart was a dispute over $2 million for community outreach. I am sure there is more to it than that but if there is still a spark of hope embedded in that concept it is worth taking a closer look. The term

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Orchestras and the union movement

1 Robert Levine

Milwaukee is not quite equidistant from Madison and Detroit, but it does sit precisely on the line between them that a crow (or a Boeing) would fly. So it’s fitting that events in Detroit and Madison resonate so loudly with this member of the Milwaukee Symphony – an orchestra in the Rust Belt that’s had

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More details on the Detroit negotiations

0 Robert Levine

The AFM put out a press release yesterday (February 20) which contained some interesting details on the most recent negotiations: Although Senator Carl Levin and Quicken Loans owner Dan Gilbert had stepped in last week to help broker an agreement, DSO management did not show up at face-to-face meetings with the arbitrators until the third

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A substitute orchestra in Detroit?

0 Robert Levine

In a front-page article in the Detroit News, Michael H. Hodges is pessimistic about the future of the DSO: …outsiders warn that suspending the season involves a leap into the unknown, one that not only threatens the orchestra’s current hold on audiences and donors, but could put the 2011-2012 season and the orchestra’s entire future

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Unions Are a Musician’s Friend

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This past spring I received an email signed by a dozen or so Eastman students. It was sent to Eastman School jazz students and faculty. This group had met out of frustration. It seems that within the student jazz community at Eastman, there has not been much discussion or communication between them about how to […]

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Social media and musician activism

0 Robert Levine

This story didn’t show up on the usual arts blogging sites, but it might well have been the most important news for our field in a while: In what labor officials and lawyers view as a ground-breaking case involving workers and social media, the National Labor Relations Board has accused a company of illegally firing

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Wassup in Detroit?

1 Robert Levine

The Detroit Symphony went on strike a little over four weeks ago, although negotiations broke down several weeks before that. That puts the strike clock at around 11:45PM, by normal standards – negotiations seem to begin to get serious, during an orchestra strike, after about six weeks. Why is that? Why not sooner? I think

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The Richardson Symphony and Buddy Rich–What's the Connection

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Some of you may be following the plight of the Richardson (Texas) Symphony Orchestra and its musicians.  They’re embroiled in a bitter dispute that has led to the RSO being placed on the International Unfair List of the American Federation of Musicians. What this means is that as long as the orchestra is on the

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Musician Performance Rights–Pending Legislation to Benefit Musicians

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Yesterday I received another email from AFM President Lee.  Unlike the video the previous day, which had a “please join the union message,” this one was all business.  It tells of the legislation before Congress right now that would benefit musician’s works that are played on terrestrial radio.  Here’s part of the email. One of

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Reinforcing The Image of the AFM– Old, Dated and Out of Touch

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Today I received an email from Thomas F. Lee the President of the American Federation of Musicians.  I suppose that it went to all AFM members for whom they have email addresses.  It begins: Dear Member RICKER: I am pleased to announce that the Federation is developing a series of videos to educate musicians and

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The boss is the best organizer

0 Robert Levine

It’s good to be reminded now and then of what an orchestra looks like in the wild, and why virtually every professional orchestra in the known universe is unionized: Musicians, however, look to a conductor for musical guidance, and they say [Illinois Symphony Music Director Karen Lynne] Deal simply doesn’t do enough homework to provide

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The Musician’s Business Challenge

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Over the next couple of weeks I’ll put on a businessman’s hat and look at a young musician’s career from that perspective.  What are the challenges facing this person as he or she steps into the profession?  One might say a musician’s challenge is to utilize and evolve the skills obtained in school in order

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Now that's what I call a union

0 Robert Levine

Show business can indeed pay well: After you practice for years and get to Carnegie Hall, it’s almost better to move music stands than actually play the piano. Depending on wattage, a star pianist can receive $20,000 a night at the 118-year-old hall, meaning he or she would have to perform at least 27 times

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The boss is the best organizer

0 Robert Levine

It’s good to be reminded now and then of what an orchestra looks like in the wild, and why virtually every professional orchestra in the known universe is unionized: Musicians, however, look to a conductor for musical guidance, and they say [Illinois Symphony Music Director Karen Lynne] Deal simply doesn’t do enough homework to provide

Read More →

Let's Form a Union

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This past spring I received an email signed by a dozen or so Eastman students. It was sent to Eastman School jazz students and faculty. This group had met out of frustration. It seems that within the student jazz community at Eastman, there has not been much discussion or communication between them about how to

Read More →