by John Stoehr
Talk about being a Scrooge.
The administration for the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra has told its musicians that they will take the terms offered in a new labor contract or face cancellation of their healthcare coverage at the end of the year.
That's according to Drew McManus over at Adaptistration. Stay tuned for more coverage.
The news comes two days after the musicians, represented by the American Federation of Musicians, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. The charge claimed that the lockout declared by the JSO's administration last month was illegal. It violated a federal law dictating that neither party in contract negotiations will strike (on the part of the union) or lock out (on the part of the manangement) for 60 days after service of notice.
From an email sent to musicians by Alan Hopper, the JSO's exe director:
As we mentioned in this letter, we cannot sustain the costs of the current agreement. Because the Association was hopeful that we could reach a timely agreement, we chose to continue your health care coverage through December 31. Now we are faced with uncertainty regarding a new agreement and must control our expenses. Accordingly, we will not continue health care coverage for Musicians after December 31 if we fail to reach an agreement by December 15.
You will have the opportunity to continue your current health care coverage with Blue Cross/Blue Shield at the COBRA rate which includes both the Association and Musician cost plus 2%.
We truly regret this decision but we must preserve the financial integrity of the JSA.
The threat amounts to a Merry Christmas and a big fuck you to the musicians from the JSO's board of directors. Yet more evidence that the board and the administration don't value the musicians or what the musicians do for the organization or the city of Jacksonville.