Musicians Reject Final Offer, DSO Suspends Season

DETROIT (WWJ) – Musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra rejected a final contract offer from management and shortly after the DSO announced it was suspending the season until June. 

Listen to interviews:

Musicians voted on the agreement Friday and Saturday after more than 20-hours of last chance negotiations that included U.S. Senator Carl Levin and Quicken Loans owner Dan Gilbert. 

Musicians went on strike October 4th.

One of the proposals, according to musicians, included removing one musician.

“Today’s decision reflects our deep disappointment at the inability of the executives to be upfront and honest with people,” said musician’s president Gordon Stump in a statement.  “Can you believe they asked good people to sacrifice one of their colleagues to save their own skin? That was in the proposal. It was a Faustian choice.  I am proud of the musicians for standing up for their colleague despite their own personal suffering.”

No further meetings have been scheduled.

Management said prospects of rescheduling concerts originally within the season, resuming the 2011 Summer Orchestral Season and announcing a 2011-12 calendar remain possible pending a settlement. 

A statement from the DSO said the “decision comes at the close of a week filled with earnest negotiations, assisted by community intermediaries that began last Friday and included a series of proposals and counter proposals exchanged on both sides.”

“This is indeed disappointing news,” said Stanley Frankel, Chairman of the DSO Board of Directors in a statement.  “For two years, we have tried to engage the Musicians’ elected leadership to join the board and staff and be part of the solutions necessary for the DSO to achieve sustainability.  Over the past five months, the unpredictability of the strike has brought numerous financial hardships to our patrons, artists, community partners, neighbors, those with whom we do business, and the institution itself.  Although it is not our preference, by suspending the season now, we end that cycle and allow these partners to move forward while the DSO focuses fully on the important work of rebuilding its business.

“It is apparent that the members’ expectations continue to exceed what we can responsibly provide.”

Frankel said that while the DSO is suspending its orchestral season, it remains ready to return to talks.  
The Max M. Fisher Music Center will continue to host educational and cultural events.

  • junior

    A Senator can’t help a group of musicians, how in the hell is he supposed to help the country?

    • Diane- Bangkok Thailand


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  • Senior

    Well, when the management of the organization involved is completely intransigent. it just about impossible to help musicians

  • David

    I hope these musicians feel that the loss of part of the season was worth it. Surely it would have been better in these tough economic times to take a contract rather than be unemployed through June?

  • Abby

    Really? Without the musicians there is NO DSO! Of course this fact is lost on the management as it is in so many labor disputes.

  • jumbo

    Good…let them starve or fire everyone of them.

  • alex

    on the fence on this one. i understand that a real-life musician, is a rare item in today’s society. Someone who reads and plays an instrament… a true rare breed. then one the other hand, no one is going to the symphany anymore. There were decades that you could not get tix to any event, now a dime a dozen. So I guess its good luck to them making this their only paying gig or good luck finding a job elsewhere. But be careful…this is America and they will outsource your job in the name of progress, but only after busting up your union. Yeah, Michigan needs more ‘atwill’ employees that can be fired for any reason, cause the rich need to be rich.

  • Bob

    Let me see if I understand: this was management’s “Final Offer” but the DSO “remains ready to return to talks?”

    Disingenuous drivel!

  • Bob

    For anyone truly interested the DSO Strike, there is a very well respected blog on orchestra management administered by arts consultant and industry expert, Drew McManus: There are many highly informative and highly informed threads. Under the heading “Latest Articles” find “Former DSO Director Goes Public With Concerns.” The comments are as compelling as the letter.

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