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Home » Orchestra News » Saga of Baltimore Symphony Musicians’ Contract Talks Continues

Saga of Baltimore Symphony Musicians’ Contract Talks Continues


Continuing to rehearse and perform under the terms of an expired CBA since January 15, Baltimore Symphony Musicians are also working hard to build political support in both Baltimore City Hall and the Maryland state legislature for increased public funding. A resolution passed by the Baltimore City Council urged the Maryland General Assembly to restore the BSO’s state funding to pre-recession levels, “ensuring that [the Baltimore Symphony] remains a vital cultural and artistic asset for generations to come.”

baltimore symphony
Baltimore City Councilman Eric Costello, Baltimore Symphony Musician and Players’ Committee co-chair Brian Prechtl of Local 40-543 (Baltimore, MD), and BSO Music Director Marin Alsop of Local 802 (New York City) stand next to a copy of the Baltimore City Council resolution, introduced by Costello, in support of additional state funding for the orchestra.

Members of the BSO Players’ Committee, initially by themselves, and later joined by some of the orchestra’s board and management leadership, met with numerous state delegates and senators to effectively lobby for House Bill 1404, which will provide two years of additional state funding of $1.6 million each year. As of mid-March, the bill has been passed by the Maryland House of Delegates and awaits discussion and vote in the Senate. Assuming the bill becomes law, the two-year grant would go into effect July 1.

The bill requires the creation of a work group comprising board members, administrators, and musicians under a chairperson approved by the leaders of the general assembly. The purpose of the work group is to examine structural efficiencies of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, including health care costs and facility usage, and make recommendations regarding cost containment strategies and audience development. The report is due to the Maryland General Assembly by October 1.

baltimore symphony
Baltimore Symphony Musician Michael Lisicky of Local 40-543 (Baltimore, MD), aka The Button Man, gives a young concert attendee a Baltimore Symphony Musicians button.

Meanwhile, the Baltimore Symphony Musicians, members of Local 40-543 (Baltimore, MD), continue to appear out in the community. An ensemble recently performed at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, and a woodwind quintet will play Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf (with narration in Spanish) at one of the city’s library branches. A group of musicians will also take part in an event sponsored by the National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC). The NNOC is conducting an organizing campaign for the nurses of Johns Hopkins Hospital. In addition to raising awareness about the nurses’ issues, this concert is a benefit for a pregnant registered nurse who advocated for fair treatment and improved patient care, and was fired after requesting Family and Medical Leave Act information.