Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Musicians File NLRB Complaint

Classic Arts News   Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Musicians File NLRB Complaint
The musicians of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre have filed a grievance with the National Labor Relations Board over the company's decision to replace the orchestra with recorded music next season, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

On August 1, after months of unsuccessful negotiations with the musicians' union, PBT announced that it would use recorded music. The move will save the company $551,000, officials said.

The musicians' complaint accuses management of failure to bargain. "They have made a decision to go without live music, to go to prerecorded music," union negotiator Nathan Kahn told the Tribune Review. "They have done so, as they say, for economic reasons. In that circumstance, they would be legally obliged to negotiate with the union the effects of that decision, and they have not done that."

In addition, musicians charge management with failing to release financial data to the union. Kahn said that the union asked company officials for financial data in May. After two months, it received some of the data, but it has still not gotten information about the last two months of the 2004-05 fiscal year.

PBT reportedly posted a deficit of about $1 million for the 2004-05 season. After a failed attempt to convince musicians to accept a 50 percent pay cut during the season, management proposed a smaller cut for 2005-06. Musicians rejected that offer as well, saying that they could not accept a salary below the union scale of $120 per performance.

Despite the deadlock over pay, ballet officials announced at the end of June that they had balanced the company's budget for 2005-06.

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