11/18/09 – Orchestra Committee Press Release

Musicians of the New Hampshire Music Festival

Ella Gray, Orchestra Committee chair


Unfair Labor Practices propel Musicians of the New Hampshire Music Festival to file charges with the NLRB

Since the recent publication of the Musicians of the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra’s Press Release, the Orchestra Committee has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the Festival Management:

1. “Employer failed to recognize and bargain in good faith, July-October, 2009”

This charge arose from Management’s refusal to acknowledge the musicians as a bargaining unit, despite the existence of two personnel policies which had been previously negotiated in good faith between the Board, Management and the Orchestra.

Meetings during the 2009 summer season between Management and the Orchestra Committee were considered “dialogues” by Management, rather than negotiations, to avoid recognition of the Musicians as a Collective Bargaining Unit. Many of the topics discussed at these summer meetings were later changed by Management without consultation, input or approval from the Orchestra Committee.


2. “Employer took actions of July 1, July 7 and October 13, 2009 in reprisal of the employees’ concerted effort to organize”


During the 2008 summer season the Musicians submitted a petition for recognition to the NLRB, with the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) as bargaining agent. The musicians believe the reprisals taken by Management were a direct result of this organizational effort.   On July 1, 2009, less than one week before the first rehearsal of the season,the Musicians received a threatening email from Management stating the ENTIRE orchestra personnel must undergo an application procedure to remain part of the NHMF Orchestra for the following season.

Following that email was a July 7th meeting Management called with the Orchestra to tell the musicians the details of that application process.  Essentially, the Musicians were all fired, pending Management’s future acceptance of each of them through an unfair, arduous and out-of-the-music-industry-standard process that involved audition CDs and the writing of three essays.

These charges will be investigated by an impartial committee of the NLRB.

For more information please visit the Musicians’ web site: www.nhmfmusicians.org