Fischer Returns to Louisville Orchestra Talks

by Gabe Bullard on November 1, 2011

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is again involved in the Louisville Orchestra labor negotiations.

Earlier this year, Fischer met with management and musicians to try to broker a new contract. After seeing the two sides were far apart, Fischer helped secure a private donation to hire an outside consultant. The consultant was the nationally-known Ralph Craviso. He worked with the Louisville Labor Management Committee to bring the sides closer together.

But the dispute continued, and the management is now seeking replacement players. At the same time, talks continue with the players. Henri Mangeot with the Labor Management Committee says the mayor has re-entered the equation and assigned his chief of staff to help both sides.

“He is involved, not only personally by sitting in on some of these meetings we’ve had, but by assigned his number one assistant—Ellen Hesen,” he says.

Mangeot says talks will continue and may be hosted at Metro Hall. A meeting was held there Tuesday.

In the meantime, the management’s search for replacement—possibly nonunion—players will continue.

“Oh I think that it’s a parallel operation. The first priority is to get a contract, I think, and to keep the present players, the musicians,” says Mangeot, echoing a statement Orchestra CEO Robert Birman made to WFPL this week.

The current players had until Monday evening to agree to the management’s final contract offer to sign all the players currently in Louisville then cut the orchestra to 55 members by June 2013. The players disagree on how many should be signed up front and how long the cuts should take.

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