In Friday’s (10/25) Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina), Adam Parker writes, “The musicians of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra voted to end their affiliation with the union that has represented them for decades,” Local 502 of the American Federation of Musicians, earlier this month. “Seventy-six musicians of nearly 175 eligible to cast ballots voted 49-27 to break from the union, … according to trumpeter Michael Smith. He chairs the symphony’s Negotiating Committee…. He said it was essential to ‘keep up the good trend,’ bolstering the symphony’s social and economic standing, in order ‘to make ourselves a better asset in the Charleston community.’ … The symphony’s operations will not be affected by the change, said board chairwoman Cynthia Hartley. The season will proceed as planned…. Hartley said the decision to decertify was entirely the musicians’. Board members and staff sat on the sidelines.… Jay Blumenthal, director of the symphonic services division of the American Federation of Musicians, said … at least 95 percent of musicians in large budget orchestras are unionized.” According to Yuriy Bekker, the orchestra’s concertmaster and acting artistic director, “This is what our musicians want…. I’m thinking about what’s right for Charleston, and this is right for Charleston. And what’s important is that musicians took charge.”

Posted October 29, 2013