The most recent statement from Dave Gaudry, Chair of the Negotiating Committee representing the musicians of the San Francisco Symphony, issued today, brought out my inner schoolmarm (and it's a bad sign when Norman Lebrecht and I agree on something):
The Musicians have been negotiating in good faith with Symphony Management to try to reach a deal before the Carnegie Hall tour begins. At 4:30 Sunday morning the talks broke down [Why? What was the last offer made by both sides?].
Even though the Musicians believe that the Symphony is in excellent financial condition [and I believe in unicorns, though I’ve never seen one], they have attempted to address Management’s concerns more than half way [examples, please]. Unfortunately, opportunistically attempting to seize on the misfortunes of other Orchestras, SFS Management continues to insist that the Musicians accept draconian [you should really look up the definition of this word] cuts in compensation and benefits and concede work rule changes that would set back by decades [!!!!!! OMFG] the protections in the Musicians’ contract designed to ensure artistic excellence. They have attempted to justify this policy with talk of “operational deficits” which were largely the self- created results of outsized programming [???? Really- it’s not every day an orchestra turns 100] and spending an additional 11 million dollars last year on a Centennial Celebration, providing enormous bonuses [define “enormous”] and compensation to top executives and consultants [this is the first mention of these “consultants”- who are they and what instrument do they play?] and directing resources away from the core mission of the Orchestra. Even with all the additional spending the SFS has experienced significant growth in the endowment, reported a 32 million dollar surplus to the IRS year [that 32 million won’t even cover the orchestra’s current compensation for 2 years- oh, and did that money come from increased ticket sales from all of that outsized programming, or was it raised by the administration? Or...? Just wondering.], and is projecting substantial growth in revenue this.
The Musicians’ concern over vacancies in key positions [what vacancies? in which positions?], defections of their most talented musicians to better paid orchestras [Herbert is one- name another, please] and Managements’ demands for erosion [erosion? erosion? Erosion occurs on coastlines, not in contracts ]of essential contract protections has them willing to stay out on strike until Management makes a fair contract offer – one fitting for an organization in solid financial condition and that will help to maintain the artistic quality of the orchestra that has taken so long to build [how many other people in the organization have participated in this effort- are you also going to bat for them?].
In the meantime, we continue to believe that Management, especially given the public money it receives [sorry, but that's a really low blow, people- you benefit from that money more than anyone else except the audience], needs to make public the Symphony’s finances.
Please, somebody help the musicians communicate better than this.