Originally Posted by Van Veen
There's a lot more going on than just money. The tip of the iceberg is that the orchestra's management deliberately manipulated the numbers to show healthy finances when they needed to get grant money from the government, then the next year show deficits when they wanted to reduce musician salaries. Also, your pay cut numbers are way too low. Management was asking for 40%+ pay cuts. I think it's down to 25% at this point. Honestly I think the musicians would accept 10-15% cuts if that's what it came down to, but cuts that low have never been on the table.
If your employer just spent millions of dollars on a new office building, then claimed he was broke and needed to cut everybody's salaries, how would you react? What if you found out he was given a six-figure bonus that same year? What's at fault here, market conditions or bad management? Do you think that employer would make responsible financial decisions in the future and that the company would survive?
If you look at the orchestras that have had major financial problems over the past few years, you will always find a major real estate deal involved somewhere. The musicians have absolutely no control over that in most orchestras.
I'm not an expert on the details of the Orchestra issues. I agree, though, there are a lot of management issues, and in such a scenario I would find a different employer, but that's how the market works -- don't like your employer, you find another.
The point was more about the NYT article that it is awful that the arts have to rely on donations. The NYT and others have always been pushing for more government funding for the arts. I disagree with that position, and I believe that the arts can survive without government funding. MPR, as an example, only gets 9% of their budget from government agencies. I think that 9% should be 0%, but certainly, it shouldn't be increasing.
I also think that the Orchestra should be able to employ other musicians during the fight. If I decide I don't like my wage, I can't just stop working and prevent my employer from hiring someone else.
If the musicians want to stand up to bad management, good for them, but they shouldn't be able to take away employment opportunities from others who would be willing to work for less money. The Orchestra will likely suffer if they hire sub-par talent, and it will force the management team to pay more to attract better talent.
The author also admits that he did work for free with the hope of getting exposure which would lead to better paying gigs, and it happened that way. However, he is encouraging other artists to not do what helped him be successful.
I do stuff outside of my job all the time for "free" because I want to get exposure to other people and increase my chances of getting a better paying job in the future.
Again, my objection is the victim mentality that the NYT portrays and the hypocritical nature of the author's post - he wants people to turn down opportunities like the ones he took that helped him be successful.