Without a labour contract, MSO musicians worry about next season and the opening of the new concert hall

Montreal, May 31, 2011 – After meeting in a general assembly this afternoon, the 92 musicians of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra – all members of the Québec Musicians’ Guild (GMMQ) and affiliated with the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ) -- strongly denounced the slow pace of negotiations to renew their collective agreement, which expired August 31, 2010.  For the moment there is no talk of pressure tactics, but they are not being ruled out.  “One week before the end of the current season, it is inexcusable that these men and women find themselves stuck without a contract.  Everyone recognizes the tremendous value of the Symphony Orchestra, a source of great pride for the city.  It’s time that management acknowledges this as well and puts some acceptable offers on the table”, exclaimed Michel Arsenault, president of the FTQ. 

The musicians unanimously rejected the MSO’s offers last November. “What’s at stake in these negotiations is recognition of the high degree of competence of the MSO’s musicians.  Salaries and workloads are the main points in dispute and, just a few months before the opening of the new concert hall, it would be a shame to have to resort to pressure tactics to make themselves heard”, declared the president of the MSO Musicians’ Association, Serge Desgagné.

“The Québec Musicians’ Guild, the union to which MSO musicians belong, has made a contract offer and hopes to reach an agreement before the summer.  But for this to happen MSO’s management needs to appreciate the artistic treasure they hold in their hands.  We at the Guild understand the exasperation felt by members of the orchestra.  After all, if the MSO is recognized as one of the great symphony orchestras of the world it’s largely thanks to the musicians who have devoted their careers to it.  This simply must be acknowledged”, added Luc Fortin, president of the Québec Musicians’ Guild.

For the musicians’ Guild, the fact that we’re ending on a sour note shouldn’t mean that we can’t start a new season in perfect harmony.

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Sources : FTQ, GMMQ

Information : Jean Laverdière, FTQ 514-893-7809