Home / General / 2012-13: A Year Without Hockey, A Year Without Beethoven

2012-13: A Year Without Hockey, A Year Without Beethoven


We’ve seen a lot of coverage of lockouts lately because professional sports league owners have used the tactic to try and wring major concessions out of unions. But it is an increasingly common phenomenon around the nation. Emboldened bosses see the end of their hated unions in sight and are capitalizing. This includes in classical music, as orchestra bosses around the nation are locking out their musicians in order to squeeze more money from them and concentrate resources at the top, where The Gospel of Wealth says they belong.

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  • MAJeff

    I’m particularly sad about the SPCO. A really fine little orchestra. I left the Midwest this year, but driving down to the Twin Cities for SPCO concerts was one of the few things that made living in NoDak bearable.

  • Kinda off-topic and kinda old but interesting anecdote about union intimidation:

    Jon Stewart’s anti-union tactics

    • wengler

      A good explanation as to why Colbert’s show is better and why Stewart’s most successful bits are where he just runs Fox News and hits softballs.

    • maybe not

      Stewart may or may not be a horrible boss but back in 2006 when his writers joined the WGA, the union had nothing but praise for him.

      “We negotiated in good faith with Comedy Central for 10 months, and I am proud to say that both sides acted fairly and professionally,” said WGA East prexy Chris Albers. “I would also like to thank Jon Stewart, who stood by his writers and insisted they be properly compensated and treated fairly.”

    • John

      The contention is that Stewart continues to employ writers, but doesn’t use their material out of spite because they formed a union six years ago?

      • Anonymous

        It’s probably more of a case of Jon being a former standup and therefore a control freak.

      • cpinva

        yeah, that didn’t make a lot of sense to me either. apparently, he pays union writers a lot of money, just so he can “spite” them, by using none of it on the show. but then, this was the guy who, in the very same interview, claimed that dennis miller is actually funny. so i’m not putting a lot of stock in this person’s “insights”.

        • John

          According to whoever’s blog it is, David Feldman is the ultimate comic’s comic, and his remarks should be taken to have the utmost reliability.

          On the whole, I don’t find it hard to believe that Stewart is both a) anti-union (the number of supposed liberals who become anti-union when their own employees are involved is legion – I have some personal experience with this in the field of faculty opposition to grad student unionization); and b) a dick to his employees (many people are).

          But the specifics of this story don’t really add up to me, especially since, well, obviously there’s plenty of scripted material in the Daily Show.

    • spencer

      I’m skeptical of just about everything hosted on Patheos, as a general rule.

      But I’ll go and read it anyway.

  • c u n d gulag

    Our American Conservatives won’t be happy until EVERY job site has a sign above the entrance that says, “Arbeit Mach Frei,” and every orchestra is made-up of Concentration Camp musicians:

    “Play some Wagner for me, Jew BEEYOTCH!!!”

    • UserGoogol

      I think that might be a tad over the top there.

      • Joey Giraud

        The end of the road is often over the top.

  • tonycpsu

    Lockout with your Bach out.

  • greylocks

    What’s the difference between a bull and an orchestra?

    An orchestra has its asshole up front and its horns in the rear.

  • HP

    There was a time when the AFM* was one of the most powerful unions in America, and Caesar Petrillo was a household name. There were no scabs, no Pinkertons or govt troops, but Petrillo’s recording ban of 1942-44 is still one the most significant events in both labor history and music history. Any book on jazz, rock, or pop history weighs in on one side or the other, but popular labor histories, in my experience, don’t have much to say.

    *Disclosure: I was a proud member of AFM Local 3 for about 5 years in the 80s before I changed careers.

    • HP

      James C. Petrillo, dammit. There goes my credibility. Again.

      • efgoldman

        Part of the legend and history of the Boston Symphony is the labor troubles of the 1920s, which led eventually to one of the strongest AFM locals in the country.

  • dougR

    Dig under the surface of most “orchestras are in trouble” stories these days and you’ll find incompetent, bungling, overpaid administrators demanding givebacks from musicians because the administrators aren’t pulling their weight in the fund-raising department. See also: “Philadelphia Orchestra files for bankruptcy; $450k/year (not counting guaranteed bonuses) president claims musicians make too much money.”

  • Bitter Scribe

    Oh, now be fair. A lot of orchestras are hurting financially and need to squeeze every penny they can. That has nothing to do with overcompensated fat cats.

  • Charles Grodin has fallen on hard times.

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