NEW YORK, NY – June 5, 2019 – Baltimore Symphony management announced last week that it was canceling summer programming and proposing to shorten the performing season from 52 weeks to 40 weeks. Musicians’ pay would be cut by roughly 20%, according to management’s proposal. The former contract expired in January and the new CBA is being negotiated.
As a negotiating tactic, Baltimore Symphony management has stated that if the musicians agree to a reduced performing year, the symphony will agree to provide them with health insurance year-round. However, if they don’t cave in to management’s demand, musicians will lose their health insurance this summer.
Putting musicians’ health at risk represents a new low in labor negotiating tactics. Without health insurance, many musicians and their families will suffer health setbacks. Some will have to put off much-needed surgery and other medical therapies. Management is cynically betting that cutting off musicians’ health care will result in concessions at the bargaining table.
This is no way to negotiate. Local 802 condemns the management of the Baltimore Symphony for holding the health needs of musicians hostage in return for getting wage concessions.