Montreal Symphony Chair May Intervene in Strike

Classic Arts News   Montreal Symphony Chair May Intervene in Strike
Lucien Bouchard, chairman of the Montreal Symphony board and a former premier of Quebec, may involve himself personally in talks with striking musicians, he told the Toronto Globe and Mail.

Bouchard said that he might attempt to open a channel to musicians outside of the official negotiations, which dragged on for 18 months with little progress before the strike began.

"How and when, I don't know yet," he said. "It may not be at the bargaining table. It may be that meetings with representatives of the musicians could be helpful, to discuss the issues at stake."

"But I don't know if the musicians are ready for that yet," he added, saying that he did not expect the strike to end soon. "It's very emotional now. Sometimes when the climate is not mature, it's urgent not to do anything."

A disagreement over work rules is the central issue in the labor dispute. Management insists that more flexible scheduling is necessary in order to allow the MSO to resume touring and recording and thus to maintain the international profile it built over 25 years under former music director Charles Dutoit. Musicians say that under the management proposal they would have to work more consecutive days than Canadian labor laws allow.

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