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January 29, 2022IM -
On January 4, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced a monetary settlement of $276,406 to resolve a complaint against the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO). The organization violated federal labor law by breaching the terms of its last contract with SSO’s 71 musicians.
The Orchestra Musicians’ Committee offered to drop all charges against SSO and allow the organization to keep the settlement money in exchange for the resignations of all six members of the SSO Board’s Management Committee (BMC). This offer was rejected. The musicians have no desire to be paid to not play and have resolved to use the settlement money to produce their own concerts for the Springfield, Massachusetts, community in 2022.
It is not clear what financial resources the SSO is drawing upon to cover the cost of this settlement and the legal expenses incurred over the past two years. However, all of these monies will effectively have been spent by the BMC to evade its obligation to present concerts.
The musicians of the SSO have witnessed the members of the BMC mismanage the SSO for many years and voted unanimously that they have no confidence in the BMC. During the pandemic, the BMC fired the orchestra’s beloved music director, looked on as almost the entire SSO organizational staff disappeared, and recently stood by as the fifth SSO executive director since 2012 departed the organization.
“Our beloved Springfield Symphony Orchestra has been reduced to a hollow shell by the very people entrusted with its well-being,” says Beth Welty, chair of the Musicians’ Committee and a member of Local 171 (Springfield, MA). “The musicians of the SSO believe the BMC’s destructive actions demonstrate that the time has come for its members to depart the organization. Our musicians have given voice to this opinion in their unanimous vote of no confidence in the Board’s Management Committee.”
The musicians ask that SSO supporters join in demanding the resignation of the BMC by signing this petition: www.change.org/SSO6Resign.