LEXINGTON - A strike by The Lexington Philharmonic musicians has been averted, and the company’s season will open as scheduled tonight at the University of Kentucky’s Singletary Center.
Philharmonic musicians had voted last week to hold open the option of striking the performance if management and musicians could not agree on a new contract. Musicians and management have agreed to continue their current contract, but differences still stand in the way of a long term agreement.
Management wants to give its music director more power over the hiring and firing of musicians, but traditionally, union members say such control has been exercised by their peers. Horn section player Dave Shelton calls it a question of job security.
“The morale of the musicians is very high and we’ve have a great deal of solidarity amongst our ranks. We love each other and we love the music and that trumps any outside considerations. When we’re on stage playing music for our audience, that’s the only thing in our hearts and minds,” says Shelton, a member of the Lexington chapter of the American Federation of Musicians.
In voting last week for a strike, musicians also said they have “no confidence” in music director Scott Terrell. Plus, they want more freedom over their performances with other organizations.
Lexington Philharmonic President Scott King chose not to discuss particular sticking points.
“You know, I’m not gonna get into the particulars of that at this time,” says King. “We are just very happy that we’re gonna have our opening concert. It’s gonna be a wonderful concert and right now that is our focus.”
The contract extension expires June 30th , so the bargaining is scheduled to resume in January.