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David,My point was simply that the musicians have been out of work for a month, so by definition, any agreement will need to in one way or another, address these lost wages. I wasn't intending any rhetoric nor implying a particular negotiation tactic or position.
And I must address one (other) crucial error: In the last contract, the musicians allowed the symphony the flexibility to schedule a number of our services over the summer. To claim that we are only needed for 9 part-time months is not only misleading in the ways which have been pointed out ad nauseum, it´s also just incorrect.
Dollars going into pay-checks which allow a musician to continue remaining dedicated to the craft are not money being flushed down the drain; you hear the benefit of those dollars every time you hear us play. Please don't mislead donors and potential donors by claiming otherwise. Finally earning salaries which allow for a foundational income is what has elevated this orchestra's quality. There will always be some number of services which are guaranteed and paid for, but go unused- it's the nature of our employment model which promises a salary in exchange for a maximum yearly service count.We've been willing to make reasonable concessions, but we should also be working on new ways to serve the community and generate revenue (with our services), in order to protect the artistic excellence our audience deserves.
Two not-so-quick points.Other orchestras which have recently sought substantial cuts in musician compensation are burdened by significant debt and a dwindling endowment, neither of which is the case for the Spokane Symphony, which is in admirably good shape financially. We´re willing to do our part to maintain that fiscal health, but we should not go so far as to irreparably damage the organization´s principal asset: its artistic excellence.We acknowledge that the Spokane Symphony cannot afford to pay its musicians "full-time" salaries (and by the way, the Chicago Symphony, whose players earn an average salary of $170,000, also "works" 20 or fewer hours each week, as most of a musician´s actual work is ´off-the-clock´, practicing and preparing individually, and Mr. Green should know that.) Since this is the case, the SSO needs to allow us the ability to earn a living - as musicians. "Day-jobs" are largely a thing of the past for our orchestra, and this is progress which should be cheered by anyone who desires a terrific concert experience. If we are prevented from pursuing other performance opportunities in order to augment our salaries (and our schedule is busy enough to preclude this without some flexibility), we´ll then be forced to do so by turning our attention away from our craft, and this will significantly diminish our ability to provide exciting, uplifting performances for our audience. The Spokane Symphony should happily encourage us to further ourselves artistically and financially (within reason - we don´t want to leave anyone "hanging", advance notice would be required, and other well-considered restrictions would also be in place). Other "part-time" orchestras do this, and so does the SSO for our two conductors, both of whom even have other regular posts (we understand that this isn´t possible for all of us - again, we just need a degree of flexibility.) We stand ready to reach an agreement which balances the artistic integrity of the whole (the orchestra) with the professional integrity of its parts (the musicians). As ´holson09´ rightly points out: what´s best for the musicians is best for the orchestra as well as the community we serve.
The Spokane Symphony has cancelled all concerts up to and including Classics 4. With the Musicians already having proven a willingness to compromise, it´s difficult to fathom how this extreme and unfortunate action demonstrates good stewardship of any kind. Our most recent offer included nearly a 7 percent salary decrease. It was rejected without any further proposals from the Society. We cannot negotiate with ourselves - compromise is a two-way street.
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