BSO Management Locks out Musicians

Press Statement 6-17-2019

Baltimore Symphony Musicians
June 17, 2019


BSO Management Locks out Musicians,
cutting off their Salaries and Health Care

As of 12:01 a.m., June 17, 2019, the management of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra locked out its musicians. Management stated that they are out of cash and will not pay the musicians’ salary. Health insurance will be cut off after June 30. All of this is happening with less than three weeks’ notice to the artists who make the music on the stage and who learned of their impending unemployment through social media rather than directly from BSO Management.

The most appalling aspect of this destructive decision by BSO leadership is that it is completely unnecessary. BSO leadership points to an average $1.6 million annual shortfall in the operations of the orchestra. However, what they don’t mention is that at the same time, the BSO’s endowment trust continues to grow in value. In FY17, total assets grew by $2.4 million.

History has taught the Baltimore Symphony Musicians that concessions don’t solve the problems of chronic mismanagement. The musicians have agreed to seven concessionary contracts since 2003, representing millions of dollars of give-backs to the organization each time management claimed financial distress, as they did in 2004, 2010, and now again in 2019.

The truth is that musician costs have remained flat over the last decade while expenses have spiked at various times, most recently in 2016 when the management overspent irresponsibly during the centenary year, allowing the budget to balloon to $34.6 million.
The musicians are asking for a 2% cost of living raise and for management to observe the minimum contractually required complement of full-time musicians, along with maintaining current work rules. It is essential that we preserve these basic elements if we are to continue to attract and retain the highest caliber musicians. We will continue to fight for these principles. It is essential to preserve the world-class orchestra that has been built over the last 103 years and to sustain it into the next century.

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Contact: Co-Chairs Baltimore Symphony Musicians
Greg Mulligan (410) 979-0208
Brian Prechtl (410) 935-7322