Fort Wayne Philharmonic contract dispute scheduled for court

The National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint Wednesday against the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, arguing Philharmonic leadership has 'refused to bargain in good faith.'

Posted: Feb 25, 2021 7:32 PM
Updated: Feb 26, 2021 9:14 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — The Fort Wayne Philharmonic may be going to court over its labor dispute with its musicians.

Philharmonic musicians have had to find new ways to provide for their families throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

So for Campbell MacDonald, this is more than a contract dispute.

“This is what we’ve studied our whole lives, and we’re doing what any person in our condition or in our situation would do,” MacDonald said.

The National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint Wednesday against the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, arguing Philharmonic leadership has "refused to bargain in good faith."

Marketing Director Emily Shannon says the Philharmonic can not respond to ongoing negotiations and legal matters but did say in a statement:

“The philharmonic has worked toward reaching an agreement that is fair to the musicians and will ensure the financial viability and stability of the orchestra for years to come.”

MacDonald says the musicians are willing to take short-term pay cuts, but there is one line they won’t cross.

“What we oppose is the Philharmonic leadership’s opportunistic and unnecessary position of permanent cuts to musicians in the orchestra,” MacDonald said.

Players and administrators have been in contract talks since the Philharmonic furloughed musicians in August.

The Labor Relations Board ruled the furlough itself was legal last Friday but agrees that the Philharmonic is not negotiating fairly.

“The NLRB complaint filed against the Philharmonic management reinforces what we have claimed all along, that the Philharmonic’s behavior surrounding that recent proposal to musicians was unlawful,” MacDonald said.

The Philharmonic reportedly offered a new proposal Wednesday, but the Players’ Association opposes the deal, which would cut the orchestra from 63 to 15 musicians.

A trial date is set for June 2. The Philharmonic hasn’t announced a return to live performances yet.

For information on virtual radio events on Thursdays and Fridays, visit the Philharmonic Events Calendar.

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