Union Wins Arbitration Against ASO

Grievance Corner

Volume CVI, No. 9September, 2006

Jay Blumenthal

Recently, Local 802 prevailed at arbitration over job security for a member of the American Symphony Orchestra. A prior change in the ASO rehearsal schedule resulted in a musician being needed for an afternoon rehearsal that previously did not require the musician’s services. It was not until the morning of the rehearsal that the musician realized he was needed in the afternoon. The musician was booked elsewhere for a dress rehearsal that conflicted with the latter half of ASO’s afternoon rehearsal. When the musician realized the scheduling conflict, he went to the music director to let him know about the problem. After speaking with the music director, the musician believed it was O.K. for him to play a portion of ASO’s afternoon rehearsal but leave early to get to the conflicting dress rehearsal.

Sometime later, the musician received a letter from management informing him that he was no longer needed as a principal musician. The union grieved this action but management was unwilling to change their position. This left us no choice but to file for arbitration. The arbitrator found that management’s decision to permanently relieve the musician of his responsibilities as principal was excessive and reinstated the musician.