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Orchestra strike continues, board and management 'joined at the hip'

Detroit's Orchestra Hall
Kellie Petersen, Flickr
Detroit's Orchestra Hall

The musicians have been on strike since October. The management is standing firm against the demands of the musicians. Holiday concerts have been cancelled, and now the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Executive Board is weighing in.

In a letter to the community released today, DSO executive board members said they were "joined at the hip" with management during this strike. The 24 board members said,

"We are hugely disappointed to be in the position we are in, the tenth week of a heartbreaking strike that we hoped would never happen. Our foremost objective is to bring an end to this strike - a strike that no one wanted. We remain convinced that any resolution must be fiscally responsible and ensure not only the future viability, but also the future vitality, of the DSO."

The letter blamed the effects of the recession on decreased revenues saying "the DSO has been backed into a corner by the financial realities of the past several years that have devastated our community."

Michigan Radio's Jennifer Guerra has been covering this strike. She writes that both sides know cuts have to be made.

The musicians proposal

  • a 22% pay cut that would gradually be restored

Management's proposal

  • cut current players salaries by a third
  • cut new players' salaries by 42%
  • eliminate tenure
  • reduce the size of the orchestra
  • require the players to teach and perform outside of the regularly scheduled concert seaso

Guerra interviewed Haden McKay, a cellist for the DSO. He says:

"It's probably the most extreme attack that's ever been made on an orchestra in the United States.

Mark Brush was the station's Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
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