DEtroit symphony orchestra strike controversy widens

Tensions mounted over the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s ongoing strike when Sarah Chang, an internationally known violin soloist, agreed to cross picket lines to play a recital, then backed out after orchestra members, musicians’ union leaders and players around the country complained.

Interesting twist: Both sides said the issue was exacerbated by social media.

You can read more about this incident in the article Violinist Cancels Recital Over Detroit Strike Tension in The New York Times.

Heres’ some background to the strike, according to the Times:

“The orchestra called a strike after negotiations stalled in September over the magnitude of pay cuts and benefit reductions and management’s desire to change work rules substantially. The symphony’s executives imposed its terms: a 33 percent reduction in the base salary of $104,605 for existing players, and a 42 percent reduction for new hires.

The players had proposed a 22 percent reduction the first year, with raises bringing them to within 8 percent of their current salaries within three years.

Management contends that Detroit’s disastrous economy means that the orchestra cannot survive without the deep cuts. The players said the cuts would destroy the orchestra’s high caliber.

Sarah Chang

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