Music

ASO Musicians Back Down on Demand for More Players… Right Away

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra bassists Joe McFadden, center left, and Gloria Jones, right, stand with Phyllis Sommer, husband of former bassist Douglas Sommer who passed away in February, as they take part in a silent protest in front of Symphony Hall on what would have been the season opening night, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, in Atlanta. The orchestra’s contract with the musician’s union ended earlier this month. The members of the orchestra are not getting paid until a new contract is ratified. The union says it wants to negotiate in good faith to preserve the orchestra. The orchestra’s management said it has operated at a deficit for a dozen years and needs concessions because the financial trend is unsustainable. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra bassists Joe McFadden, center left, and Gloria Jones, right, stand with Phyllis Sommer, husband of former bassist Douglas Sommer who passed away in February, as they take part in a silent protest in front of Symphony Hall on what would have been the season opening night, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, in Atlanta. The orchestra’s contract with the musician’s union ended earlier this month. The members of the orchestra are not getting paid until a new contract is ratified. The union says it wants to negotiate in good faith to preserve the orchestra. The orchestra’s management said it has operated at a deficit for a dozen years and needs concessions because the financial trend is unsustainable. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press
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Atlanta Symphony Orchestra musicians have met today’s deadline for a response on management’s latest contract offer with a counter-proposal.

Atlanta labor lawyer Rick Warren has been following the negotiations. He says the seven-week-old lock-out of the musicians indicates some strongly-held positions on each side, adding, “The parties have got to find a way to work this out if they want to end this process with a contract.”

The main sticking point in the contract dispute is the size of the orchestra.

The musicians have now backed down on their demand that Woodruff Arts Center commit to adding musicians in the first year of the contract.

However, it requires an increase to 88 musicians by the end of the four-year deal.

The orchestra currently has 77 players.

Woodruff Arts Center says it will review the musicians’ proposal.

In contract negotiations two years ago, the size of the orchestra was cut from 95 musicians to 88. Eleven positions are now open and have not been filled.