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Louisville Orchestra Labor Complaint is Withdrawn

Classical 90.5 received this press release from the Louisville Orchestra:

Musician Union Withdraws National Labor Relations Board
Claim against Louisville Orchestra

Orchestra Board and Management Bargained In Good Faith

LOUISVILLE -- January 31, 2012 – An official from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Cincinnati confirmed that the American Federation of Musicians, Local 11-637 (Louisville) has withdrawn its unfair labor practice claim against the Louisville Orchestra board and management.

It is customary for NLRB claims to prompt an investigation by regional field examiners and attorneys. Orchestra musicians and administrators provided affidavits in the case earlier this month.

“Allegations by the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), Local 11-637, that they were subjected to “regressive bargaining” were clearly found to be unsubstantiated and without merit,” said Orchestra CEO Robert Birman. “We have taken great care in our deliberations, and the record shows that we have bargained in good faith, having made extraordinary efforts to accommodate our musicians.”

“It is not uncommon for claims to be withdrawn once NLRB examiners have determined an anticipated outcome that will not support the charge,” continued Birman. “The NLRB website states that more than half of all unfair labor charges are ultimately withdrawn or dismissed.” Birman says that the filing of such claims is standard protocol when musicians are on strike.

Today’s ruling comes on the heels of a ruling by Kentucky’s Division of Unemployment in which the musicians were determined to be on strike since June 2011. Individual players are, by law, not entitled to receive unemployment benefits while on strike. Musicians who have accepted such benefits are required to repay unearned benefits to the state. In total, more than $350,000 in unemployment benefits was accepted by 55 of the Orchestra’s musicians during the period of the strike.

The musicians’ strike resulted in the cancellation of planned celebrations for the Orchestra’s 75th concert season for 2011-2012. Orchestra patrons have been refunded their ticket purchases for cancelled events. The Orchestra’s 75th birthday will occur on November 2, 2012. Orchestra officials said that they would focus 75th anniversary celebrations throughout next seasons’ events.

The Orchestra administration continues to operate a variety of education and community outreach programs in spite of the musicians’ strike, serving community members from pre-school level to senior citizens with public programs and services throughout the region.

“The Board of Directors is committed to provide live symphonic music to our community sooner than later,” said Orchestra board President Chuck Maisch. “We appreciate the community’s patience with this unfortunate labor impasse. The Board recognizes its responsibilities and has every intention to fulfill its duty to deliver on the mission of the organization to provide symphonic music in Louisville. It is our plan to present a 2012-13 season. Our first preference remains, as we have repeatedly stated, that our current musicians to return to work.”

Future updates will be posted on the Orchestra’s website: www.LouisvilleOrchestra.org.

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