Consultant Hired in Orchestra Dispute

by Gabe Bullard on September 16, 2011

The anonymous donation given to bring in an outside consultant to the Louisville Orchestra labor negotiations will go to a controversial figure in the arts world.

Consultant Ralph Craviso has more than a decade of experience with orchestra negotiations across the country. Prior to that, he worked in labor relations in the airline industry. Both sides in the Louisville dispute have agreed to work with him.

Craviso has worked to mediate disputes with a number of orchestras in cities across the country, including Seattle, Philadelphia and Jacksonville, Florida. Reports from those cities paint Craviso as a tough negotiator who has at times upset musicians. His track record includes a number of resolved labor disputes, but also pay cuts, bankruptcy declarations and accusations of attempted union busting from players.

The Louisville Labor Management Committee is handling the mediations with the orchestra. Calls to their offices were not returned.

The management is seeking to sign the musicians to tiered contracts, with some players being paid for as few as ten weeks. The musicians have offered to shorten the season and cut 11 full-time players, then add musicians in subsequent seasons. The management says it can’t afford that.

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