October 2, 2014
By Stephanie West
Atlanta, Georgia – The Atlanta Symphony is seeking to cut costs by firing orchestra members. The group has been locked out since September 6th. The lockout is "a one-sided attempt to force the orchestra to its collective knees," Music Director Robert Spano told the British newspaper, The Guardian.
Atlanta board chair "Stanley Romanstein again resorted to starvation as a weapon in his quest to extract unjustified concessions from his employees, all to pay for his failure to manage one of America's leading orchestras," said American Federation of Musicians President Ray Hair.
The Atlanta board claims the orchestra is running a $2 million deficit and
management wants to cut costs by cutting jobs and pay. The Atlanta board locked out the musicians two years ago. Then, the orchestra members agreed to cut the ensemble's size from 95 to 88, and take a pay cut.
"By attempting to establish a feudal system, which would destroy the lives of musicians who have done nothing but bring joy to the community, Romanstein is threatening to destroy the institution itself," Hair said. "I doubt that citizens of Atlanta would want that to happen." The orchestra members are gaining wide support from the community.