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DSO musicians urge compromise, say strike is hurting area businesses

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra playing in Greenfield Village in 2002
flickr - user paintitblack22
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra playing in Greenfield Village in 2002

Update Thursday, 9:57 a.m.:

DSO management wrote to us saying the information provided below regarding the DSO contract proposal was dated. We've updated the copy to clarify that this was one of management's original proposals.

Update 6:45 p.m.: 

At today's press conference, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians urged management to return to the bargaining table. They say the strike is hurting area businesses, especially restaurants.

David Zainea co-owns the Majestic Cafe in Midtown, and he says business has taken a big hit since the musicians went on strike Oct. 4: 

"We’re down almost 25% in the course of three months."

The musicians said they wanted to use the suggested proposal U.S. Senator Carl Levin and then-governor Jennifer Granholm had issued as a roadmap.
That proposal called for a $36 million, 3-year contract that would require sacrifice from both sides. 

DSO management issued a statement this afternoon saying they would submit a proposal to the federal mediator "detailing how it would spend $36 million over three years once it secures additional, sustainable funding that would both close the gap between its position and the union's and support the enhanced communal and educational activities that are now even more important for the orchestra to revive and thrive."

DSO board chair Stanley Frankel had originally said he took the Granholm-Levin recommendation seriously, but:

"A $36 million compensation package is beyond what every consultant and our Board have said is feasible."

11:00 a.m.:

The striking Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians plan to announce a "major development" in their ongoing labor dispute with management this afternoon.

The Associated Press reports:

A statement released Wednesday by Local 5 of the American Federation of Musicians says business owners and family members of striking musicians also will attend a 2 p.m. EST news conference at the Majestic Cafe in midtown Detroit.

Michigan Radio's Jennifer Guerra has been following the DSO Strike that began last October. She will attend the news conference and provide an update.

DSO management  had originally proposed the following cuts, known as 'Proposal B,' as a result of shrinking revenues for the Orchestra:

  • 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 season

The striking musicians countered management's proposal saying they would agree to a 22% pay cut that would gradually be restored, and they would agree to a reduction in the orchestra's size.

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.
Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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