Archives: August 2001

08/01/01 That Union Thing

Right-to-Work...for Less??

What are Right-to Work Laws?

These laws prohibit union security clauses in union contracts. These security clauses come in one of three forms:

  • Closed Shop: only union members can be hired for the job

  • Union Shop: employees must join the union when they are hired

  • Maintenance of Membership: union members must remain members for the duration of the contract

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08/01/01 Symphonic Shorts

New FPO Members

  • Teresa Nikolova-Nolen, Violin

  • Yue Tang, Cello

  • Chris Glansdorp, Cello (1-year position)

Also, congratulations to Susan Moyer, who was promoted to Assistant Principal Cello (1-year position).

FGO and FPO to Part Ways

After a half-century relationship, the Florida Philharmonic is being phased out as the pit orchestra for Florida Grand Opera. The FPO will play for two productions this coming season, one the following season, and none after that. They will be succeeded by a freelance orchestra provided by Sunset Entertainment Group. Management cites scheduling conflicts as the reason for this breakup.

Interview With Geoff Hale

Geoff Hale, Florida Philharmonic 2nd bassoonist and Orchestra Committee (O.C.) chair, is a native of Boston. Except for 4 years in the Marine Band, he has been in south Florida since his student days in the 1960’s-or "too long" as he says. He was a member of the Fort Lauderdale Symphony before it merged to become what is now the Florida Phil, and has been on the orchestra committee on-and-off since the first union contract in 1983.

JA: What led to the first union contract?

GH: Musicians had to play lots of different jobs to make a living, and frequently dealt with schedule conflicts between the many different small orchestras. In 1983 the musicians got together, with the help of the Federation, and decided enough was enough. Fortunately Fort Lauderdale Symphony conductor Emerson Buckley was OK with having a Union Contact. In order to negotiate this first-time Master Agreement we needed to elect an orchestra committee. I was well aware of abuses that were going on and felt I could help correct some of these injustices, so I volunteered and got elected.

JA: What are the biggest accomplishments over the years?

GH: In the first contract, we negotiated a prior commitment clause which took some of the pressure off of musicians trying to juggle schedules with many orchestras, and got 55 musicians tenured. We accepted modest wages to get those provisions. We now have health insurance, sick leave, personal leave, pension, and better scheduling. This orchestra used to do up to 13 services per week and operas in Miami and Palm Beach on the same day.

JA: You’ve been the ICSOM delegate since 1989-you were the first. How has ICSOM helped the orchestra?

GH: Being in ICSOM has put us in a group with national stature and made us recognized. ICSOM has made resources available to us during bad situations, and the threat of their clout carries a lot of weight. The delegates and officers of ICSOM are a group of activists willing to stand up and scream. When the New World Symphony threatened to invade our territory, ICSOM put pressure on the union to negotiate a fence agreement. As a support group, ICSOM orchestras gave us financial help during the strike and the Philadelphia orchestra musicians offered to play a side-by-side concert with us.

JA: Kind of like an extended family for the symphonic community. Have you seen any good come out of the strike?

GH: Ironically, I am seeing good things coming out of the strike. Management always went into negotiations with the assumption that the musicians would never strike, and if they did strike the orchestra would fold. The demise of the Miami Philharmonic was still on everyone’s minds, but the strike proved it didn’t have to end that way. The public became more aware of the orchestra because of the front-page press during the strike. We now have a new Interim Executive Director, new Personnel Manager, new faces on the Governing Council, and renewed communications with the Council and Management.

JA: People often unite in a crisis, but what are you doing to keep them involved until the next negotiation?

GH: I would hate to think that the musicians of the orchestra would slip back into a coma! We now have musicians on the Music Director and Executive Director Search Committees. These musicians are not members the O.C., which was our attempt to get more musicians involved. In the past there has been major distrust of the Local union as well as a small group of musicians not understanding fully what the O.C. was trying to do. The changes in the Philharmonic’s management, the Local’s view towards FPO musicians, and a better respect of all parties concerned creates a much better atmosphere. The O.C. and the Local can now focus their energies towards making sure Management maintains the provisions of the Master Agreement.

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08/01/01 Recording Rap

As I write this article we are almost half way through the summer. The recording department has seen $645,000 on contracts year-to-date. We are on track with our recording totals and will surpass the $1,000,000 total we did last year.

Our jingle department has doubled since last year thanks to Rene Barge, John Martyn, Steve Roitstein, Alberto Slezynger and Gregg Wiktorski. Keep the contracts coming!!! I’d like to thank Dione Chandler for all her hard work in processing all of our recording checks.

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08/01/01 Casual Corner

Harnell Memoirs Published

Local 655 Life member Joe Harnell has had his memoirs, Counterpoint, published. Harnell, a Grammy and Emmy award-winning pianist, composer, arranger, and conductor, has worked with such stars as Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and Marlene Dietrich, and has composed and conducted scores for such TV shows as The Incredible Hulk and The Bionic Woman.

Counterpoint is published by Xlibris Corp. ( and 888-795-4274 x276).

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08/01/01 Official Business

Have you Paid your Semiannual Dues?

If you have not paid your dues in full for 2001, you are now subject to a $5 late fee. Please check your mailing label for dues owed (as of 8/6) and call the office if you have questions. Thanks!

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08/01/01 President's Report

… To Run Or Not To Run …

For personal reasons and due to business concerns and opportunities, there is at least a 50/50 chance that I will not be running for office this fall. This is one of the most difficult decisions I’ve faced in some time. On one hand, there are concerns in my own life that I have had to push aside in order to take care of the business at hand with the Local, and on the other hand, there are a number of unfinished objectives that need to be attended to.

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