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NLRB Affirms Orchestra Members as Employees

not Independent Contractors

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 29, 2011

AFM Contact: Honore Stockley
(315) 422-4488 ext. 104
honore@bentley-hall.com

After a more than four-year wait, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled in favor of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and affiliated Locals 294 (Lancaster, PA), 72-147 (Dallas-Fort Worth, TX), and 9-535 (Boston, MA) in determining that the musicians of the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra are statutory employees, not independent contractors. The two-to-one decision announced December 27, 2011, is a reversal of the regional NLRB’s 2007 ruling to dismiss the orchestra’s union election petition, and clears the way for the orchestra to vote on union representation.

In two unpublished decisions issued today, the NLRB also followed the Lancaster Orchestra decision and ruled that the musicians of the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra and Plano Symphony Orchestra are employees.

“These are resounding victories for the AFM, the union movement, and for professional musicians around the country,” says AFM President Ray Hair. “The NLRB saw through management attempts to block unionization by forcing musicians, as a condition of their employment, to acknowledge themselves as independent contactors – the same employment status as household maids,” Hair said. “Professional musicians are immensely talented, highly specialized employees who deserve the right to bargain collectively with their true employers for fair compensation, benefits and acceptable working conditions.”

According to an NLRB announcement yesterday, the board examined numerous factors and found they weighed heavily in favor of employee status and the right to negotiate, noting that orchestra management sets work hours, payment schedules, dress codes, standards for behavior, and conditions for discipline, among other things.

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