Contentious clause causes musicians to balk at ISO's latest proposal

Union has until 6 p.m. Saturday to act on offer

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra management proposed a new contract to the musicians' union Monday night, but the union is balking at one contentious clause.
The latest management proposal is a five-year deal that would leave musicians' base pay $18,000 below the current level in year three, but allow them to recover $10,000 of that in the final two years. 

The catch is that management inserted a clause allowing it to terminate the contract after the third year, which would enable management to freeze salaries at a low point in the cycle of concessions.
"It put all of the risk on us and allowed them to terminate the contract and take away any of the recovery that we would have made in the last two years," said French horn player and union negotiator Jerry Montgomery.

ISO issued a statement calling the offer economically sustainable.
It said, "The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has offered a workable solution that preserves the artistic quality of ISO's performances."
But Montgomery said the union thought it had an agreement in principle, but when it went back to the bargaining table to look at the final language, management had added the new termination clause.

"I don't know if it's bad faith, but they certainly threw a roadblock into what we thought was an agreement in principle," Montgomery said. "And it was a roadblock that they refused to remove and we could not agree to."

A symphony spokesperson told RTV6 Tuesday that the early termination clause could be removed if the symphony raised another $5 million in donations by March 31.

The union has until 6 p.m. Saturday to accept management's latest offer. 

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