Letter from David Assemany


Dear DSO Management,

I am writing to ask you to please negotiate fairly with the musicians, and do everything in your power to maintain the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as the world class arts institution that it currently is.

It is my understanding that contract negotiations are under way with the musicians. It is also my understanding that the musicians are being asked to take large pay cuts, upwards of 33%, with no plan for recovery. I also know that there are many other provisions in the proposed contract, such as elimination of tenure, reduced health and retirement benefits, and changes to work rules that would deter the finest players from pursuing a career with the DSO.   While I understand the need for concessions in this economic climate, I do not understand the need for these seemingly punitive provisions.  I also think that it is imperative for the health of the DSO that the musician’s salaries return to the ranks of other top ten orchestras as quickly as possible.

As a business owner, I understand the need to pay competitive wages to attract quality employees. If my employee compensation is not at or near the top of the standard in my industry, I do not attract the best employees.

I imagine this is even more important in an organization where the skill level is as rarified as it is in a symphony orchestra. In order to attract top players, and keep the ones currently employed, there must be parity with other orchestras of the same caliber.

I am certain that you understand these principles; therefore I am at a loss to understand why you are reluctant to negotiate in good faith towards a solution which results in a future return to competitive wages resulting in a positive result for the organization.

If it is not, in fact, your goal to keep the level of the DSO where it currently is and historically has been, than I ask you to step aside and make room for someone who has the skill and vision to lead the orchestra into the future without compromising its artistic quality.

Sincerely yours,

David Assemany, Pleasant Ridge, MI

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