- Boise Philharmonic Orchestra
The board of directors and management of the Boise Philharmonic released a statement on Friday afternoon saying they are "saddened" by the decision on the part of its musicians to join the American Federation of Musicians.
"In all circumstances, the Boise Phil is committed to the artistic success and financial sustainability of the orchestra to continue to enrich our community through music," wrote the organization.
Read the full statement below:
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Original Post: March 28, 2019, 2:07 p.m.:
The musicians of the Boise Philharmonic have decided to join a union. In a press release, they announced that they had voted overwhelmingly (96 percent of participating musicians) to sign on to the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada.
"We're excited to join the community of working musicians, and we think this is an exciting time in the life of our orchestra," said Kate Jarvis, violinist and assistant concertmaster with the Phil. "We have a vested interest in the organization, and we think it's important for the musicians to have a voice in the organization."
The Boise Philharmonic is the oldest performing arts organization in Idaho, and as far as Jarvis could tell, this was the first effort on the part of its musicians to join a union. She characterized the move to unionize as an attempt to secure a seat at the table for major decisions made by the organization, but added that the musicians are eager to bargain their next contract with one voice.
"We have a contract currently with the organization, but it's not enforceable by the musicians," Jarvis said, noting that the musicians have not yet decided what specific demands they'd like to make. "We're taking this next step."
The AFM began in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1896, with 3,000 members. Today, it represents approximately 80,000 musicians in two countries. Boise musicians have reached out to the leadership of The Phil with offers of contract negotiation dates in April, and the proverbial ball is now in their court, Jarvis said.
"It's up to them to respond to us. We're just waiting to hear from management at this point," she said. "We hope the [Boise Phil] board will hear us and recognize our decision to join the AFM."
Voting to join the AFM took place March 21-28.
Update March 28, 3:30 p.m.
Hollis Welsh, executive director of the Boise Philharmonic, said her board of directors will meet with musician representatives the evening of March 28, and will issue an official statement in the coming days.