FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Philharmonic management on Monday addressed musicians’ “unfounded filing” of unfair labor practice charges.
The Fort Wayne Philharmonic Players’ Association announced Sunday charges were filed Jan. 7, alleging the Philharmonic coerced employees unlawfully by “interrogating them about their intention to engage in a strike.”
The website for the National Labor Relations Board shows a case was filed Monday, Jan. 9 against the Philharmonic, but no details are available.
Philharmonic management stated Monday:
“While the union told media it filed an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB, as of 3 p.m. today the Philharmonic has not received such notice, nor has it been posted on the NLRB website. The unfounded filing serves as a distraction from the real work needed to reach a fair agreement and to return music and student education programs to the community.“
When the Players’ Association announced the charges Sunday, they said Philharmonic management sent out an email to teachers involved in Club Orchestra- a music education program- asking them to reply with their “intent to return to work” despite the ongoing strike. The release cited the NLRB, saying the questioning was unlawful.
The Philharmonic addressed the issue Monday, saying:
“To continue its commitment to the students who participate in youth education programs, the
Philharmonic contacted FWCS teachers who teach at the Club O program. This communication was a necessary and earnest way to ask individual teachers if they planned to participate in the youth music education program and to reassure them that their positions with Club O were not in jeopardy because of the Musicians’ strike regardless of their choice to return to the classroom. Teachers were respectfully asked to notify the Philharmonic management of their intention to continue their roles in this valuable education program while the orchestra is on strike.
The Philharmonic wants to continue this program as scheduled with the support of the FWCS teachers, who are committed to students seeking musical instruction. The Philharmonic asked if the Club O teachers planned to return to ensure that these programs were appropriately staffed and to
communicate with the parents and students, and FWCS. Continuation of Club O is a priority for the Philharmonic, which supports music education and community programs.”
Management noted the majority of teachers involved in the program are employees of the district, and not musicians specifically attached to the Philharmonic.
Philharmonic management filed charges Jan. 4 against the player’s union- American Federation of Musicians Local 58- for failing to bargain in good faith, and a “lack of progress toward a fair contract.”
The next meeting for negotiations is Tuesday. Management said if the offer is not accepted before or during the meeting, the Philharmonic is “prepared to cancel” an upcoming performance scheduled for Jan. 28.