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Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Musicians trade instruments for signs amid lockout

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Posted at 11:08 PM, Jun 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-18 08:58:43-04

BALTIMORE — A contract dispute has stopped the music for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

READ MORE: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra musicians to be locked out beginning Monday

The musicians spent their first full day without pay petitioning outside the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

Greg Mulligan is a BSO Violinist and Co-Chair of the Players’ Committee.

76 musicians are forced to trade in their instruments for signs outside of their place of employment.

“We want to be fair, and we want to achieve a fair contact,” Mulligan said. “All we’re asking for is cost of living raises and enough musicians to have an orchestra.”

The board of directors said there isn't enough cash flow, adding that they've had financial struggles for years.

Mulligan said the Players’ Committee accepted an extension that ended in January, and they have been playing without a new contract.

That was until a few weeks ago when the summer season was cancelled. Now they've been locked out. While the two sides negotiate the music and the paychecks have stopped.

“We have members in the orchestra who are having children; there’s at least one pregnant person,” Brian Prechtl, a percussionist and Co-Chair of the Players’ Committee. “People are getting cancer treatments; it’s very serious to have health care cut off.”

Adding to the problem, Governor Larry Hogan has been hesitant to release $1.6 million in funding, saying the BSO has serious problems with management and losing support of their donor base.

The musicians and management will return to the negotiating table on Friday