NewsMay 18, 09:43 AM
(New York) The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has today affirmed a July 2011 National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision finding that the American Federation of Musicians and AFM Local 4 (Cleveland, OH)-parent and local-are joint collective bargaining representatives for the Cleveland Orchestra, and that the Musical Arts Association (MAA), which operates the Cleveland Orchestra violated Federal Labor law by refusing to bargain with the AFM over media issues. The Court rejected MAA’s contention that two or more unions may not serve as joint collective-bargaining representatives for a single unit of employees, stating that those representatives can divide-either expressly or in practice-their bargaining duties in order to accommodate local and national interests.
“The federal appeals court has rightly rejected the notion, driven by Cleveland Orchestra’s manager, that employers in the symphonic sector can pick and choose who to bargain with for electronic media purposes,” said AFM International President Ray Hair. “The tens of thousands of dollars that MAA invested in a failed attempt to avoid a constructive agreement would have been better spent in support of the musicians who perform in that outstanding orchestra,” Hair, said.
The case dates back to 2009 when, despite warnings to orchestra managements signatory to AFM media agreements that they have a duty under the NLRA to negotiate with the AFM, and not its locals, MAA began negotiating with Local 4 on electronic media topics, withdrawing its recognition of the AFM as bargaining rep for media purposes. Alerted to this tactic by Local 4, the AFM filed unfair labor practice charges, resulting in a complaint issued by the NLRB Region 8 Regional Director. The case went to trial in September 2010. In January 2011, Administrative Law Judge Eric M. Fine held that MAA had committed an unfair labor practice when it refused to negotiate with the AFM. Then, in July 2011, the NLRB affirmed Fine’s earlier finding that, having signed media agreements with the Federation for many years, MAA was not free to shift media negotiations to any other bargaining partner.
Director of Symphonic Electronic Media
American Federation of Musicians
1501 Broadway, Suite 600
New York, NY 10036
212 869-1330 ext. 1-225
212 764-6134 (fax)
Commenting is closed for this article.