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ISO Official: No Labor Day Talks Mean Cancellations Possible

Symphony officials say many measures are on the table as it renegotiates its contract with its musicians' union.

The union representing nearly 90 Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra musicians says it‘s waiting to hear whether management has accepted their latest contract offer.

“Basically it was a one year offer that had large concessions and save $1.4 million in this one year in concessions alone and also offered and required the bringing in of someone with some national or international artistic knowledge to assess the situation,” says Richard Graef, negotiating chairman of the American Federation of Musicians Local 3 in Indianapolis.

Graef‘s comments come in response to a statement from ISO Board Chairman John Thornburgh. Thornburgh says he‘s disappointed that the union couldn‘t negotiate through the Labor Day weekend. However, Graef says talks remain active, whether in person or by telephone or email. The musicians‘ three-year contract expired September 2.

ISO officials says unless a new contract is signed by September 7, they‘ll be forced to cancel the first two weekends of performances of the 2012-2013 season. Graef says that‘s untrue.

Last week, Graef said ISO management wanted to reduce the number of musicians from 87 to 63, cut pay by 45 percent, as well as reducing the working year from 52 to 36 weeks and drastically reducing pensions. Meantime, ISO managers are trying to erase an annual $10 million budget deficit.

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