Yet another hole poked in the notion that musicians aren't workers. The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra is on strike. It's typical for most people to think of high-class snobbery when they think of professional orchestras. But that myth hides the fact that commonly these very musicians--most of whom have spent years honing their skills and talents--are very much exploited.
From Socialist Worker:
"At stake in the strike is the WCO musicians' right to supplement their incomes from WCO performances--which is between $10,000 and $15,000 a year--with other jobs, including teaching music and performing in other orchestras. The board is demanding that musicians make 90 percent of performances and practices. Typically, a part-time orchestra like the WCO requires only a 50 percent attendance rate, a necessary condition of the musicians having multiple jobs, often in more than one city."
The board of directors' intransigence on this is only highlighted by their employment of a lawyer from a well-known union-busting firm to represent them during negotiations. It seems the BoD is so adamant about bringing quality classical music to the people of Wisconsin that they are willing to ignore their musicians' right to make a living.
Like any other employer in the music business, they're willing to put a price tag on good art. The musicians think differently, though:
"After the picket [in front of the Overture Center in Madison on October 3rd], musicians treated their supporters to a free performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 2 at the nearby Bethel Lutheran church, and received a standing ovation from the audience."