St. Louis Musicians' Union Files Ethics Complaint Against Lawyer

Classic Arts News   St. Louis Musicians' Union Files Ethics Complaint Against Lawyer
Officials at the St. Louis musicians' union have filed an ethics complaint against attorney Leonard Leibowitz, accusing him of mishandling the St. Louis Symphony musicians' strike that lasted from early January through late February, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

According to the Post-Dispatch, the complaint filed with the New York Bar Association is part of a wave of finger-pointing that followed the musicians' settlement with SLSO management.

Leibowitz, a union lawyer of national stature, was hired to represent the musicians' negotiating committee as well as the Local 2-197, the St. Louis branch of the American Federation of Musicians. In that capacity, he chose not to file a notice—required 30 days in advance of a strike—with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, apparently as part of a strategy to paint the work stoppage as a lockout.

Because of the failure to file notice, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that the strike was illegal, a decision that forced musicians back to the negotiating table. Local 2-197 officials, in their complaint to the New York Bar, say that Leibowitz's failure to file the form constitutes a violation of the Bar's Canon of Ethics.

Meanwhile, a member of the musicians' negotiating committee issued a report critical of the role of the union officials in the strike. "This was probably the most demoralizing settlement in the history of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra," wrote violist Christian Woehr. "Relations with Local 2-197 an all-time low and many orchestra members view the St. Louis Labor Council as an enemy."

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