When will this Louisville Orchestra mess just quit?
Now the LO is pushing for binding arbitration to settle the musicians’ strike. The organization has given musicians and their union until February 17 to agree.
From the LO release:
Under arbitration, an independent third-party would review the case and make a binding decision regarding terms of the musicians’ contract. The move is the LOI’s final attempt to reach agreement, after negotiations over the past 18 months have failed despite the assistance of multiple mediators and repeated contract offers, including offers that would have resulted in having to raise additional funds beyond the LOI’s anticipated budget.
“We are willing to let an arbitrator make determinations on key contract elements so that we’re able to return live symphonic music to our community through an agreement with our current musicians,” said Chuck Maisch, LOI board president.
The arbitration proposal was mailed electronically Thursday to the bargaining committee of the musicians as well as to the local musicians’ union. Musicians have until February 17 to agree to arbitration.
The Orchestra’s offer provides a process for the union and the LOI to choose one of five highly qualified members of the National Academy of Arbitrators. The result of the arbitration process is to be binding upon all parties.
Areas to be settled through arbitration include:
- the number of musicians to be retained on salary, between 50 and 55 musicians;
- individual participation in employee benefit packages;
- “non-compete” terms;
- “triggers” that would provide future benefits and/or wage increases;
- guaranteed number of weeks of employment; and
- the term of a contract agreement (i.e. number of years).
Importantly, the Board’s proposal contains limits on the arbitration. Among these, there would be no reductions from current salary levels and the arbitrator’s decision must reflect a sustainable budget for LOI based on historical earned and contributed income over the previous five years.
“We are firm on maintaining our current musician salary levels to remain competitive and to be able to attract top-caliber musicians in the future, but we must also live within our means in terms of balancing organizational costs with reliable income,” Maisch said.
Other limits on the arbitration state that any decision will comply with previously negotiated terms regarding the Orchestra’s pension plan, and matters of governance.
Your brain melting yet?
This is hell. Otherwise we wouldn’t STILL be hearing about this mess.