In the financial-recovery plan outlined by independent consultant Thomas W. Morris (former executive director of the Cleveland Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra), one of the goals was to settle the musicians' contract by March 15.
Musicians, according to their union's lawyer, Joe Hatch, are willing to accept the two-year salary freeze necessary to stabilize the organization's finances, but also want to see management restructured. According to the Tribune, some musicians are considering other career moves in case the contract and reorganization don't materialize.
The committee tasked with looking into the report won't make its recommendations to the board of trustees until March 24, significantly after the date when musicians would like to see the contract resolved.
"There is a legitimate risk that good quality musicians will say they don't have a future with this symphony," Hatch said. "At that point, they are going to start auditions and move on."
One musician, violinist Meeka Quan, has already made departure plans, although it's not clear whether her move to the San Francisco Symphony has anything to do with the organization's administrative troubles.
Anne Ewers, symphony CEO, said that the US&O management was "trying to meet the Morris report's recommendations to settle the musicians' contract by March 15, and we will do everything possible to demonstrate to the musicians that we are serious about Morris' recommendations to improve governance."
The organization requested Morris' help in order to deal with deficits of $1.7 million and $3.3 million over the last two fiscal years, and a projected deficit, according to Morris, of $3.2 million in 2005.
Hatch said he had heard no talk from musicians about a strike.