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SSO Musicians Plan to Use NLRB Settlement Money to Produce Own Concerts

SPRINGFIELD — On Tuesday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced a monetary settlement to resolve a complaint against the Springfield Symphony Orchestra Inc. (SSO), which was accused of violating federal labor law.

The NLRB ordered the SSO board of directors to pay its unionized musicians the $276,406 they would have earned for playing 10 concerts, but with the requirement of hosting two concerts.

The orchestra musicians’ committee offered to drop all charges against the SSO in exchange for the resignations of all six members of the SSO board’s management committee (BMC) and a plan to put the money toward a full 2022 concert season. The 71 musicians had previously voted unanimously that they have no confidence in the BMC. The musicians have resolved to put the NLRB settlement money toward producing their own concerts for the Springfield community in 2022.

“During the pandemic, the BMC fired the orchestra’s beloved music director, looked on as almost the entire SSO organizational staff disappeared, and recently stood by as the fifth SSO executive director since the end of 2012 departed the organization,” the musicians said in a statement. “This sorry state of affairs makes plain what has been evident for years: BMC members have a stranglehold on the operation of the SSO, despite lacking any experience in running a performing-arts organization.”

Beth Welty, chair of the musicians’ committee, added that “our beloved Springfield Symphony Orchestra has been reduced to a hollow shell by the very people entrusted with its well-being. The musicians of the SSO believe the BMC’s destructive actions demonstrate that the time has come for its members to depart the organization. Our musicians have given voice to this opinion in their unanimous vote of no confidence in the BMC. We, the musicians of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, for the sake of the SSO’s future, demand the resignations of the members of this committee.”

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