Another blow to the performance arts community came over the weekend with news that the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has cancelled its first two weeks worth of performances due to its ongoing financial crisis.
In addition, ISO management has sent out Cobra notices to all employees cancelling their health care benefits.
The musicians have been working without a contract since September 2nd. Ongoing talks between the union and management came to a grinding halt over the weekend with the management decision to cancel September performances. The ISO is one of 17 full time orchestras left in the country and management is pushing a plan to bring them to part time to offset a huge deficit.
Unsuccessful fund raising efforts and poor ticket sales combined with dwindling endowments have pushed the management team to it’s limits as negotiation towards a new collective bargaining agreement broke this past week.
ISO management had been seeking to cut the schedule from 52 weeks to 38 weeks. Musicians would be cut from 87 full time employees to 63. And the remaining musicians would see their compensation cut by 41.5%.
The musicians union and their financial analysts feel that their plan, a combination of furloughs and pay cuts equaling 13.9 % would keep their full time status and allow for an uninterrupted performance schedule.
The arts community and its' patrons are stymied by ISO management’s move to cancel the performances that would start the season. The savings would be minimal and there is so much more at stake. Fans have taken to Facebook to offer their support.