Stir It Up
Crushing the unions
Suddenly, the Midwest looks like the Middle East
Published: March 2, 2011
Indeed, DSO musicians have agreed to draconian wage cuts, but not to changes in work rules the DSO insists on. When the DSO canceled the remainder of this concert season, DSO Executive Vice President Paul Hogle was reported in the Detroit News to have said the DSO was considering hiring replacement musicians. The next day the paper back-pedaled, saying that the reporter had drawn "inaccurate conclusions" from an interview with Hogle. However, Bowens says that this past weekend the DSO executive committee of the Board of Directors indeed discussed hiring scabs. "People who were at the meeting told us," says Bowens. (As MT went to press, DSO musicians were announcing an offer to return to work without a contract.)
Certainly the DSO is not in cahoots with Gov. Walker, but they are both part of a move to crush union power using the economic crisis as an excuse. Whenever money comes up short they want to cut expenses, and unions become a target.
"We're still asking the wrong questions," Beck says. "We always look at how are we going to cut our way out of this? We need to raise money to do things that people say need to get done. ... They're beating up on public sector workers, pitting one set of workers against another set of workers."
Maybe they're not looking for alternatives because the agenda is set. It's interesting that 2010 was the lowest year on record for the amount of strikes in the United States since records have been kept. At the same time it was a record year for CEO compensation.
That gives you an idea of the direction we're headed here.
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