JOB SECURITY THROUGH A CONTRACT
You've worked a job for years, and are suddenly fired. Maybe the personnel manager's friend moved into town and needed a job. Or maybe you were stuck in traffic and were a few minutes late for the first time ever. Or maybe the contractor lost the gig and took the entire band down with him. It may not be fair, but in most places, we are at-will employees that can be fired at any time, for no reason at all.
With a union contract, things are different. Most symphony contracts require auditions to make sure the hiring is fair and impersonal; the most qualified person should be hired. Most contracts also protect against improper dismissals. Just cause language ensures that everyone enjoys due process...except for extreme actions, you have to be warned and given time to remedy the situation before you can be fired. Many contracts also protect against artistic dismissal. Typically, in these situations as well, you need to be given warning and a chance to remedy the deficiency. Often there is also peer review, where not just the conductor but also several of your peers must weigh in before you can be dismissed. A union contract makes sure that you receive respect and fair treatment during any talk of dismissal.
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