The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO) has furloughed its musicians without health coverage, making it the only major orchestra in the US to terminate musicians’ health care during the pandemic.
ISO musicians, members of Local 3 (Indianapolis, IN), were furloughed for a second time on June 7. The orchestra was first furloughed in March and then re-employed at a reduced salary for eight weeks beginning in April, when the organization received a Payroll Protection Program loan.
The second furlough came with the removal of health benefits. In lieu of coverage, management offered a stipend of $1,800, the equivalent of approximately two weeks of COBRA coverage on a family plan. Talks to re-evaluate the situation were scheduled for July.
Since the furlough, musicians have continued to organize free, public concerts in open spaces such as church parking lots.