“Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians met newly appointed president Anne Parsons with hugs before the first concert of the season six years ago,” writes Mark Stryker in Monday’s (10/4) Detroit Free Press. “Today she’ll see picket signs. The players are set to strike today, threatening the start of the season later this week and capping the most volatile DSO labor conflict since the 1980s. The parties remain deeply divided over pay cuts and work rules. … After last-ditch talks failed Sept. 24, management imposed the terms of its final contract offer, prompting the strike. But beyond displeasure with contract details, the musicians are smarting from a long list of perceived injustices they say leave them with no control over their destiny—a series of concessionary contracts, claims that management reneged on its promise of artistic excellence and new provisions they say weaken traditional tenure and the musicians’ ability to influence policy. … Parsons disagreed. She pointed to artistic goals that recently came to fruition, including hiring Leonard Slatkin as music director, recording and touring. She said management and the board have invited input, but the players’ blanket rejection of proposals and insistence on a contract the DSO can’t afford make it impossible to dig out of the deep financial hole.”

Posted October 4, 2010