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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000524.txt from 1997/09

From: Fred Jacobowitz <>
Subj: Re: Prof. Musician: Employee or Contract Labor
Date: Wed, 10 Sep 1997 14:58:13 -0400

I am in the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra in Maryland. Tho our
budget is only in the $170K range, we had similar problems. The pay
business wasn't the problem for us. The bad part was the lack of secure
working conditions, grievance proceedure, etc. I am a freelancer so I have
no problem with doing the withholding business myself quarterly. Lord
knows, I get so many paychecks from so many places it seems silly that
musicians get upset about that. However, If you really don't like it, I
suggest that the musicians organize themselves to present a united front
when you ask management to agree to your requests. You may find that
you'll need to negotiate a collective
bargaining agreement which specifies what you want.
You don't
**NECESSARILY** need a union to do this but it is often easier because of
the logistical, legal and psychological support it provides.
In the ASO, we just went through the process of organizing because
of unprofessional board and conductor behavior which was not addressable
any other way. The board had to be dragged kicking and screaming all the
way. It took over a year and there is rather alot of rancor. However, we
now have what we need - a structure for addressing labor problems
and the legal means to back up our positions. The Union was unbeleivably
helpful in this. There ARE other non-union groups ( including at least one
orchestra) which have CBA's (Collective Bargaining Agreements).
Unfortunately, I don't remember offhand which. Anyone on the list??
It seems to me that such a pay situation is only a minor
annoyance. How many more minor (and major) ones are combining to drag down
morale at the orchestra? Is the pay issue going to be the proverbial straw
which breaks the camel's back?

Fred Jacobowitz
Clarinet/Sax Instructor, Peabody Preparatory

On Wed, 10 Sep 1997, Robt. Walzel wrote:

> I play in the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, an orchestra with about an
> $850,000 budget and a season of about 60 services. We are not a union
> orchestra, as there is no music union in Lubbock. However, there are about
> 6 or 8 musicians, including myself, who belong to locals in other cities.
> Our symphony management in their infinite ignoranace tries to save itself
> money by declaring musicians as contract labor rather than employees. Each
> year they issue us 1099 rather than W-2 income tax statements. By doing
> this, they avoid having to withhold tax from our checks and avoid having to
> make employer contributions to Social Security.
> Needless to say, the musicians of our orchestra do not think this is fair.
> Is there anyone on the list who can share some insight on how we might
> proceed to have this practice changed by our management. Any other
> experience dealing with this issue would also certainly be appreciated.
> Thanks! Bob Walzel
> Robert Walzel
> Texas Tech University School of Music
> PO Box 42033 Lubbock, TX 79409-2033
> ph#806-742-2270 FAX#806-742-2294

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