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Detroit Symphony Orchestra Members Return to Work

April 12, 2011

Contact: Honore Stockley
(315) 422-4488 ext. 104

The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) is pleased to announce that the musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) returned to work last Thursday, rehearsing in Orchestra Hall in preparation for two free concerts this past weekend. The rehearsal and concerts were scheduled after DSO musicians and management reached a tentative contract settlement Sunday, April 3. The contract was ratified Friday, April 8, ending the six-month strike.

"After six long months, I am overjoyed to see the DSO musicians return to making beautiful music at their home, Orchestra Hall," adds AFM President Ray Hair. "Their perseverance in standing up for their value in the community, and for the value of their orchestra, is something to be admired. The actions of the DSO musicians will be remembered for years to come."

After weeks of stalling on face-to-face negotiations, DSO management finally agreed to schedule negotiating sessions the first weekend of April. Bargaining talks stretched for 17 hours on April 2 and 10 hours on April 3, culminating in a deal that the musicians’ negotiating committee brought back to the full orchestra for a vote. The approved three-year contract totals $36.3 million.

"We want to thank the thousands of people from all over the city, the nation, and indeed the world who supported us with their letters, emails, and in many cases, their money," says AFM Local 5 (Detroit, MI) President Gordon Stump. "For the sake of those people, ourselves, and the thousands of classical musicians working in symphony, opera, and ballet orchestras throughout the country, we are happy that the worst of the proposals were eliminated. We paid a heavy price in terms of the loss of income over the last six months and an almost 25% reduction in our salaries, but we were able to fend off management proposals which would have significantly changed the very nature of the job, and would have given the managements of other orchestras the impetus to try and gain those conditions in their orchestras."

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