Baltimore Symphony cancels first concerts of fall season as lockout continues

Fri Sep 13, 2019 at 6:00 pm

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has been forced to cancel the first four concerts of its fall season as its musicians have voted down management’s latest contract offers. The free Season Preview Concert, originally scheduled for September 14, has been postponed to September 21. The three accompanied screenings of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, scheduled for September 19 through 21, will be postponed to still undetermined dates next spring.

After a lockout lasting almost three months, management and musicians still appear not to be on the same page in these negotiations. Earlier this week management offered the musicians a year-long contract covering a forty-week season, which remains its main position, while providing a modest stipend for the lost weeks of summer employment. A second contract option was for the musicians to continue under the terms of last season’s contract extension, through December.

The musicians voted to reject both 11th-hour offers from management, which their representatives described as “take it or leave it.” In a statement the musicians expressed disappointment that $1 million offered by generous donors “specifically for musician compensation to help secure a contract” was not accepted by management. Management also rejected proposals by federal mediators to extend negotiations until Thursday.

In response the musicians have filed an Unfair Labor Practice Charge against BSO management with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming a failure to bargain in good faith. In particular, they accuse the BSO of refusing “to provide relevant and necessary information requested by the union in bargaining.” The musicians resumed picketing at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall on Tuesday.

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