Anne Parsons’ Letter to the DSO Board of Directors

Dear members of the Board,

We hope everyone enjoyed a restful holiday season. As the first week of the New Year comes to a close, we wanted to provide an update.

I wish it could be more positive than the facts allow.

On December 24, we formally communicated to the union and each individual Player our most recent proposal which would bring total average player compensation (salary, healthcare, pension and other benefits) to $133,000.  (See attached communication) The Players’ elected leadership has refused to negotiate around that proposal, and have rejected our request that they provide detail of their newly and quite publically accepted position that embraces the terms of the Levin/Granholm recommendation.

Instead, the Orchestra’s elected leadership has spent their time scheduling additional strike concerts (including their own Rogers and Hammerstein pops concert in the church next door to Orchestra Hall) and continues a communications campaign filled with misinformation and personal attacks of board and management leadership.  Further, we know they have been in touch with our sponsors asking them to disassociate themselves from their historic DSO support.   They have been in contact with UMS and MOT seeking to independently (and competitively) present Mahler’s epoch Symphony No. 8.  Community partners have expressed deep disappointment that the Players appear to be more invested in these activities than responding to our recent proposal and bargaining in good faith towards a conclusion that will restore our orchestral concert season. With all this in mind, there are two things to be aware of:

  • ·first, the ongoing strike now forces the cancellation of all DSO Rodgers & Hammerstein Pops concerts (see below).
  • ·Second, at the January Executive Committee meeting, the Board will evaluate the merit of suspending the remainder of the 2010-11 season, as well as indefinitely deferring the announcement of the 2011-12 season, until a settlement can be achieved.

This clarity of action is intended to allow our patrons to exchange tickets, request refunds, and make alternative plans.  It respects the future relationships with guest artists and conductors affected by these cancellations.  Finally, it tasks the staff with redoubling its work in the area of education, rentals, retail, jazz, and fundraising – all which have come through 2010 with encouraging results.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, I welcome your email or call.



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3 Responses to Anne Parsons’ Letter to the DSO Board of Directors

  1. Mike Wargal says:

    To Linda, Keven, and everyone else who wondered about that $133,000 figure, it is explained in the musicians website:

    Allow me to quote:
    In recombining the numbers this time, management has simply lumped under “other” every conceivable expense it views as musician related, including the multi-million dollar penalty management will incur when it withdraws the musicians from the AFM-EPF pension plan, the employer portion of payroll taxes, health insurance for a large family, instrument and life insurance, even the value of a parking space, etc. Management has then divided the sum by its 85-member “New Detroit Symphony” and arrived at an average cost per musician. That cost was then dressed up as musician compensation

    Here is the link to the site:

  2. Kevin Good says:

    *$133,000! Really? Our negotiating team must have missed that offer…… perhaps because there never was such an offer.

  3. Linda Hawkins says:

    Dear Ms Parsons,

    a) Where did you come up with the $133,000 figure? I can’t make the math on that work out.

    b) They are correctly referred to as “Musicians”, not “Players”

    c) Can you please give me even one example of where the musicians have put out any misinformation?

    d) your condemnation of the musicians for spending their time putting on concerts instead of negotiating is pretty amazing as it comes from someone who spent several weeks out of the country and unavailable just recently.
    1) Oh, and they are not getting paid these days, I believe you are.

    e) While I think it is nice that your staff is redoubling its efforts in the areas of education, rentals, retail, and Jazz, these are secondary to your primary function.

    f) Really? Fundraising has come through 2010 with encouraging results?

    g) I have tried to contact you, Paul Hogle, Pat Walker, and Stanley Frankel numerous times, but no one has ever returned my correspondence.

    Linda Hawkins

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