This past Friday, Sept. 11, the musicians of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra voted against the management's most recent contract offer. The vote? 76-0.
Yes, you read that right. 76-0. I've been sitting and thinking about this unanimous vote, and other things surrounding it.
First off, I think it is safe, and very realistic to say that the musicians of the ISO all realize that in this economic climate, they will be taking a paycut of some sort. Look at orchestras around the country---Cincinnati and Baltimore for example---they and others have taken some serious paycuts in order to survive this climate. I remember speaking to a musician in an orchestra which made some serious cuts this past year, saying "Wow, that must have been a hard thing to decide upon. You all took such a big hit!" His response was something akin to "Well, we knew what we had to do to survive, and so we did it. It actually wasn't that hard at all." Musicians obviously know what it takes to keep orchestras surviving, and understand that cuts need to be made.
So, with that in mind, the musicians of the ISO still said no to the management's most recent offer, and that says a lot about the management's offer. I have no clue what the offer was--no one does, save management and the ISO musicians--but it obviously had to have been bad, and unreasonable. Why else would the vote be 76-0?
I do hope in the next contract, if musicians are taking a paycut (which based on other orchestra's negotiations, they probably are), that Crookall takes a paycut. And, not just any paycut. If musicians take, say, a 10% paycut, then Crookall had better be willing to take a 10% paycut as well. Whatever he asks the orchestra to do, he should be willing to do it as well. Otherwise, he looks like a jerk. There's no other way to put it, really. How would you feel if your CEO asked you to take a 10% paycut, yet he only took 5%? AND, he makes substantially more than you do? It makes that CEO look like an ass.
Crookall already made himself look that way with the Venzago mess---I truly hope he doesn't do it again with contract negotiations.