Louisville Orchestra Musicians Reject Contract Offer, Say Counter Offer Also Rejected

by Gabe Bullard on October 3, 2011

The Louisville Orchestra musicians and management have each rejected offers for a contract for the coming seasons, according to a statement from the players.

On Monday, the musicians voted down a proposal that—according to documents obtained by WFPL—would have cut the orchestra from 71 to 50 full time musicians who would play for 30 weeks, rather than the current 37. Their pay would remain $925 a week. Over the next five years, the proposal would allow the number of players and the pay to increase, depending on the ensemble’s finances.

The musicians countered with an offer to keep 57 full-time musicians, then add three more in a year and increase the season length from 30 to 33. In a statement released Monday, the musicians say the management’s attorney rejected that offer.

“We received a very quick response back,” says musicians’ committee chair Kim Tichenor. “I would say within 15 minutes.”

Management has long said the player’s vision for a 71-member orchestra isn’t financially sustainable. The musicians say they’ve made deep cuts and concessions that could hurt the quality of the orchestra.

Tichenor says management told the players that a rejection would result in either the hiring of replacement musicians or a Chapter 7 liquidation. Tichenor says it would be difficult to find new players, since the orchestra is on the American Federation of Musicians’ ‘unfair list.’ The union levies penalties against members who play for listed groups.

“I think this is it,” says Tichenor.

The impasse continues despite the involvement of the Louisville Labor Management Committee and consultant Ralph Craviso. Carviso was hired with an anonymous donation secured by Mayor Greg Fischer.

The management did not return a request for comment.

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