For immediate release 3/3/11
Contact: Greg Bowens, Bowens & Co., 248.275.3156,
DSO CEO anne parsons TELLS BOARD TO MIND THEIR OWN BUSINESS AND LEAVE THE NEGOTIATING TO EXECUTIVES IN TERSE EMAIL THIS WEEKEND
Musicians press ahead with weekend visits encouraging board members to support the Pathway to a Peaceful Settlement Plan. “The DSO is a taxpayer supported non-profit not a private company run by a small cabal of executives, they say.
Detroit – Detroit Symphony Orchestra CEO Anne Parsons sent a startling email to members of the organization’s board of directors Friday urging them to ignore emails and letters from musicians that ask them to consider the Pathway to a Peaceful Settlement arbitration plan presented last week.
“We learned that the musicians have sent letters and emails to the board this weekend urging you to agree to settle the contract through arbitration,” writes Parson in the email forwarded by a recipient. Tell them, “Thank you for your email. As I’m sure you know, your offer is being discussed by your lawyer, orchestra management and our lawyer. Please direct all future communications on this subject through that channel.”
After telling the board members to ignore the musicians, Parson dismisses the idea that board members have any say in the decision to accept the musicians’ offer, “the management negotiating team will bring a recommendation to the executive committee on this topic as soon as we have something we feel you can support,” she writes.
The tersely worded email was sent at 6:34 p.m. Friday, March 4, 2011 moments after striking musicians’ had emailed the same board members asking them to hold a meeting of the full board to vote and accept the Pathway to a Peaceful Settlement binding arbitration proposal. Musicians are going door-to-door this weekend visiting board members.
“The DSO is a tax exempt, therefore publicly supported venture run by a board of directors from a broad cross section of citizens from Detroit and the surrounding communities,” said Gordon Stump, president of the musicians locally. “It is not a private company or corporation whose board members are accountable to shareholders looking for a quarterly dividend. They are accountable to the wider community. Their voice should not be silenced by a small cabal of executives acting as if the non-profit agency was their own private company.”
The pressure by management to silence their board of directors occurs in the wake of an offer made by the musicians to return to work and end the labor dispute while a binding arbitration process runs its course to a new contract. The musicians offered to submit all remaining unresolved issues to binding arbitration before a three person panel. They would select one arbitrator, DSO executives would select one, and these two individuals would select a third. The parties would present and argue their position on each of the unresolved issues, and ultimately, the panel would issue a final and binding decision which was approved by at least two of the three. The majority could adopt the position of one party over the position of the other, or they could propose something different. Any provisions of the arbitrators’ decision which can be made retroactively will be so implemented.
Meanwhile, the striking musicians are performing community concerts numbers 15 to 20 in March. For more information on the concert series and ticket prices visit www.detroitsymphonymusicians.org.