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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2016 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Atlanta Lockout...Continued

ASO Management responds to musicians' statement with their own.
Dr. Stanley Rommenstein, president of the
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra poses in the
Woodruff Arts Center.
Photo from WoodruffCenter.org,
This afternoon, Dr. Stanley A. Rommenstein, President of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra released a statement giving some details of the orchestra's side of its ongoing negotiations with its musicians. As a followup to an earlier Superconductor story detailing the lockout, and in the interest of journalistic fairness, here are the highlights from his prepared statement:
  • The deficit for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 was $2.7M...inclusive of $1.8M in non-sustainable sources (i.e. bequests and one-time gifts. Without them, the true operating deficit is $4.5M.
  • The ASO has been running an annual deficit of nearly $5M and the accumulated deficit is approaching $20M.
  • Average compensation of the musicians is $131,000, which currently includes 100% free health and dental coverage, free instrument insurance, retirement pension, and eight (8) weeks of paid vacation. 
  • Since 2006, average staff compensation has been reduced by 1.7%. During this same period, average musician compensation has risen 23.6%. 
  • 68 staff members have agreed to forego raises, endure layoffs, accept weeks of mandatory furloughs, and to contribute to a healthcare plan. 
  • Ticket costs are slightly higher.
  • Donors have made even greater personal financial contributions.
The statement concludes: 

"It is true that the musicians allowed their contract to expire on August 25, despite an offer on the negotiating table, so they are no longer being paid a salary. The musicians are now inactive employees, and therefore ineligible for benefits. 

We have presented the Musicians’ Union with our last, best, and final offer — they have yet to respond."
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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.