Louisville Orchestra Musicians say "no way" to final offer - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville Orchestra Musicians say "no way" to final offer

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The future of the Louisville Orchestra is uncertain after the musicians turn down their last and final contract offer.

Musicians are meeting Friday morning, and Orchestra CEO Robert Birman says he hopes to have a final decision by the members before 4PM Friday.

WDRB received a letter from the musicians with the Louisville Orchestra early this morning. In it, they say there is nothing in the contract except threats and sketchy details.

Orchestra CEO Robert Birman said musicians had until 4 PM Friday to make a decision. Under the new contract, officials said they would employ and keep all of the musicians for now. But the number of musicians would be reduced to 55 by 2013 through voluntary attrition and retirement packages, and the musicians are not happy about that.

The rejection letter reads in part: 

"The management needs to partner with us to make this happen. They not only have to give us a comprehensive and comprehensible proposal, but they also have to give the musicians something that give them faith and hope in the institution. At the moment, all we're being offered are threats."


"We hope to fill an orchestra for this city so we can get back to the habit of presenting live concerts for the benefits of children and adults throughout this community," said Orchestra CEO Robert Birman.

The musicians say they want to know who the orchestra will "fire" as they call it, and what instrumental positions would remain under the concept. Orchestra officials have said if the musicians didn't approve this last and final offer, they will be replaced. The musicians have been without a contract since May.

The musicians say they are not on strike and never have been. They offered to do holiday performances without pay. A spokesperson for the members says the management's list of threats to the musicians is long and detailed.


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