Striking musicians of Local 60-471 of the American Federation of Musicians walk along Penn Avenue near Heinz Hall.
Regarding the Oct. 7 editorial “Make Music Together: PSO, Musicians Should Get Back to Bargaining”: As chair of the musicians’ bargaining committee and longtime PSO bassist, I couldn’t agree more. On the very first day of the strike, we let management know we wanted to continue negotiating. The response was that management would do so only if we accepted management’s “last, best and final offer.”
To our dismay, management has now repeated that ultimatum, saying it will return to the table only if “the musicians have ground to give.” Actually, we’ve given plenty of ground already, offering a salary freeze, a freeze in the number of musicians and the permanent closing of our pension. And we’ve made it clear we are willing to give more.
But we are at a loss to understand how it can be considered “negotiating” when one side expects the other to compromise but refuses to do so itself. It brings to mind John F. Kennedy’s famous quote: “We cannot negotiate with people who say what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.”
The musicians want nothing more than to return to the stage at Heinz Hall. But we need management to meet us in the middle.
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