A New Beginning for Richardson Symphony
In the Summer of 2010 — 8 years ago — the Richardson Symphony Orchestra was placed on the AFM’s Unfair List after refusing to sit down with Local 72-147 and the Musicians of the orchestra to bargain a successor agreement. This happened after nearly twenty years of a productive relationship.
Now after eight years of the RSO having been placed on the AFM’s International Unfair List, it has been removed.
Local 72-147 reached agreement with the RSO after engaging in discussions with the organization’s Executive Director Laurie Garvie and Music Director Clay Couturiaux throughout the summer months to discuss terms for the company’s removal from the list.
Throughout the years of this dispute, the Union’s position has been one of loyalty to the members of the bargaining unit. Since the RSO’s placement on the Unfair list, the local has held that the musicians who were members of the orchestra from before the labor dispute must be brought back into the ranks the orchestra.
Another factor is that the RSO’s budgetary size has reduced since before 2010. And while its complement is also significantly smaller now that it was in the days of the former collective bargaining agreement, it has continued to operate under these circumstances.
As discussions continued an uderstanding developed between the parties that in order to reach a point of new beginning, the history of the bargaining unit must be acknowledged and the membership under the previous CBA would be a part of any plan moving forward.
The agreement that was reached is a plan for transition and renewal. The RSO has agreed to fill the vacancies it currently has for the 2018-19 season with the membership of the RSO roster prior to its “unfair” listing. Management has also agreed to utilize this same list for positions that become available when the hiring takes place for the 2019-20 season.Once these hiring cycles have taken place, the parties will return to the table to pursue an agreement that builds on this foundation.
“What is perhaps most important is the new beginning this represents,” said Local 72-147 President Stewart Williams. “Much time was spent in our discussions to arrive at an understanding that a resolution was possible. The answer that eluded us in 2010 was a place at the table to work things out. That time is over, and it is time to rebuild,” he said.