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Talks between musicians, Philharmonic management have stalled

Brittany Smith
Musicians and supporters picketed in front of the Embassy Theatre in January.

Negotiations between Fort Wayne Philharmonic musicians and management have stalled as the parties won’t meet again until late March.

Management has said they’ve compromised on wages, a proposal which musicians have agreed to, and have rescinded their request for an extra hour of musicians’ free time during the evenings.

In a letter to the Journal Gazette, musicians spokesperson Campbell MacDonald wrote that musicians have accepted “cost-saving modifications to employer-provided health care,” among other compromises.

Still, an agreement hasn’t been reached. MacDonald says musicians are up against a legal strategy that is focused instead on attacking musicians.

“We’re ready to move in the direction of an agreement that focuses on what it means to be in our workplace and one that will foster the very partnership they state to be seeking,” he said.

In his letter, MacDonald also wrote the Philharmonic is attempting to attach “degredations to long-standing and functional contract language,” which eliminate workplace bargaining rights and implement an attendance policy. MacDonald wrote the attendance policy would allow management to fire musicians for taking leave that has already been granted.

Philharmonic management has not responded to a request for comment.

Musicians have been on strike since Dec. 8. The Philharmonic announced the cancellation of all concerts and engagement events through April 11.

Ella Abbott is a multimedia reporter for 89.1 WBOI. She is a strong believer in the ways audio storytelling can engage an audience and create a sensory experience.