Last week a federal appeals court unanimously upheld the right of Lancaster Symphony musicians to organize a union—ending a nine-year legal fight.
In 2007, musicians joined together to organize a union and have a voice at the symphony. But management fought the musicians, by falsely arguing that the musicians were independent contractors who had no right to organize.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled in 2011 that the musicians were Lancaster Symphony employees and could organize a union. Management appealed this NLRB ruling. The District of Columbia Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with the NLRB and said the musicians are employees permitted to unionize.
Musicians won by remaining united in their fight to be treated professionally and establish fair policies for auditioning, hiring, grievances, and substitutes. Now Lancaster AFM Local 294 and orchestra committee representatives are entitled by law to promptly meet and bargain with management toward an acceptable collective bargaining agreement.