The Louisville Orchestra’s musicians have broken the silence over ongoing contract negotiations.

Sources told WFPL last week that the ensemble was nearly broke. Musicians and administrators confirmed that they were indeed in talks about renewing the musicians’ contract (which expires next year), but would not say how dire the financial situation is, citing a mutual agreement to not negotiate through the media. CEO Robert Birman said bankruptcy was an option, as in previous years, but it would not be used as a threat in contract negotiations.

The musicians have now released a statement saying they’ve been told the ensemble needs $2 million, and they have been asked to:

  • Reduce the number of players from 71 to 55.
  • Accept a 20 percent pay cut
  • Play a 31-week season, rather than a 37-week season

The players say the cuts were presented as a necessity, and their suggestions for new fundraising efforts were rejected. They further allege that they’ve been told this week’s paycheck is their last, unless they accept the cuts. (Click here for their statement)

The administration is sticking to its original agreement. Birman sent the following statement to WFPL:

The Louisville Orchestra Board and Management are abiding by their pledge to not use the media as a tool in talks with the Orchestra’s musicians.  Talks are ongoing and all parties seek the same outcome; a long-term, sustainable path to a vital future for the Louisville Orchestra in order that it may continue to serve the Metro Louisville community with engaging concerts and the area’s leading educational programming.

 

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