Midori & Friends Teachers Go on Strike

Classic Arts News   Midori & Friends Teachers Go on Strike
Music teachers who work for the Midori & Friends Foundation have gone on strike, according to the New York musicians' union.

The teachers, freelance musicians who visit public schools on behalf of the organization, voted to strike last week. They say their starting pay has remained stagnant for the last seven years, and that Midori & Friends refuses to contribute to the pension funds of new teachers.

The teachers have been picketing the organization's offices in Manhattan since January 19.

According to the New York Times, the starting salary is $40 per hour. But teachers told the paper that they generally work only an hour or two a day, and are not paid for the time spent traveling to schools.

Alan Fischer, the chairman of Midori & Friends, told the Times that the group had offered a 7.5 percent pay increase, but the union asked for a 25 percent raise. He added that it was standard practice to withhold pension payments during an initial probationary period.

Founded by the violinist Midori in 1992, Midori & Friends sends teachers into New York schools for live performances and instrumental instruction. Twenty-three schools, and a total of about 7,500 students, participated in the program last year.

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