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Fort Wayne Philharmonic Cancels Holiday Shows Amid Failed Union Negotiations

Fort Wayne Philharmonic

The Fort Wayne Philharmonic canceled its holiday concerts scheduled for this weekend. The cancellation comes after out-of-town guest musicians asked to be let out of their contracts.

The Philharmonic said the request came because the union asked the replacement musicians not to work with the orchestra. Last month, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic was placed on The American Federation of Musicians International "Unfair List." The list is meant to discourage other musicians from working with orchestras on the list.

The Fort Wayne Philharmonic Players Association released its Position Paper Thursday, detailing the paper details the Philharmonic Management’s “unfair negotiating tactics, destructive and harmful proposals to musicians, and the impact such actions could have on our orchestra, the quality of life in our community, and economic development in Northeast Indiana.”

The Philharmonic said the negotiating team has offered several options for musicians, but that the musicians have not returned to the table since Sept. 28. The Association called the latest offer “radical and destructive.” The offer included reducing the number of full-time musicians from 63 to 15. The Philharmonic said this was "in order to allow the institution more flexibility to respond to the realities of the marketplace while expanding programs and performance opportunities."

The Association said the Philharmonic is using "the pretect of the COVID-19 pandemic" to un-lawfully furlough musicians without pay. They also say the Philharmonic "does not lack money at this time" due to a recent capital campaign that raised nearly $10 million and an endowment.

At the Philharmonic's board meeting on Tuesday, the Board of Directors voted to extend paying 99% of musician health premiums through Jan. 31. After that date, the musicians would be responsible for 30% of their health insurance premiums.

The Philharmonic said musicians "have failed to respond to repeated requests to return to the bargaining table." In the past few months, the Philharmonic has been charged with two Unfair Labor Practices.

Philharmonic Musician Press Release by Rebecca Green on Scribd

Position Final by Rebecca Green on Scribd

Fort Wayne Philharmonic Press Release by Rebecca Green on Scribd

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.
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