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Boise Phil, Musicians, Reach Accord Over Unionization


  • Boise Philharmonic Orchestra
After just over a week of meetings, the Boise Philharmonic and its musicians have reached an accord over the orchestra musicians' vote to unionize.

Last month, musicians with Idaho's oldest performing arts organization voted overwhelmingly to join the American Federation of Musicians. In response, the management and board of directors of the Boise Phil released a statement saying they were "saddened" by the musicians' decision—but that wasn't the tone it took April 15, when the Phil announced in a press release that it would, along with its newly affiliated musicians, "continue to provide enriching musical experiences for the Treasure Valley."

"Nobody's seeing this as a really bad thing," Boise Phil Executive Director Hollis Welsh told BW. "The sentiment is, there's always something to be gained by growth, and when you do it in a way that has a lot of process and infrastructure built in, and a commitment to sustainability, it can only help the organization in the long run. We all believe we're moving in the right direction with the Boise Phil."

The Phil's executives and musicians have been in negotiations since the end of March, but Welsh said circumstances unrelated to the negotiations delayed the announcement of an accord. The Phil officially agreed to recognize the musicians' unionization the week of April 10.

"I would just say that we're excited that management has heard us and recognized our decision to join AFM," said Kate Jarvis, a spokesperson for the orchestra committee, who added that the Local 689 will assist in specific negotiations between the musicians and the Philharmonic going forward.

Negotiations over new contracts for musicians, Welsh said, are on track, and those contracts should be ready by their usual date—Friday, May 31.