Monday, September 10, 2007

DSO Contract--A Victory for Unions and the Arts

Playing in an orchestra is a rush. You are part of something bigger than any individual participant. In the best moments, there is intuitive agreement about phrasing, dynamics, tempo and expression. Your tone contributes to an idea that could never be produced by one person, yet reaches a hall full of individual listeners. Those listeners can become party to the wonder of collective expression, transported by the sheer sonic force moving air that surrounds them. Their appreciation is measured by a quick hushed silence, a collective gasp, before applause.
Unions are probably like orchestras, for some people.

Today, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit Federation of Musicians released elements of a labor agreement that reflects the times. While the agreement keeps the DSO in the top ten highest-paid U.S. orchestras, musicians did make concessions--3 unpaid weeks in the first year of the contract, 2 unpaid weeks in the second year, reduced pension options for new hires, and player contribution to health costs.

The Free Press reports that "musicians’ total minimum compensation"will increase "by 3.6% to $104,650 in the final year." While this may sound a princely sum to a city full of people facing hard times consider this: it is harder for a musician to land a seat in a world class orchestra, than it is for a college basketball player to go pro. Don't be fooled. $104,650 is a reasonable sum.

Related posts:
Music, Prosperity and Legislative Priorities
Great Arts State?
Michigan Arts Funding--From 4th to 50th