War of words escalates between Symphony management, musicians

War of words escalates between Symphony management, musicians
Brien Matson
Brien Matson
Jonathan Parrish
Jonathan Parrish

By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A week after they last sat down for talks, the contract dispute between the management of the Honolulu Symphony and its musicians has escalated, with the musicians union planning to file unfair labor practice charges.

The Musicians' Association of Hawaii, which represents the musicians, said it e-mailed the Honolulu Symphony Society, telling its board members it was willing to meet again at any time.

"We got a return e-mail, describing the meeting and saying the meeting adjourned," Association president Brien Matson said, "And that was the end of their response."

However, the musicians were surprised two days later by a statement from management, which said the talks had broken down after the musicians had rejected their best and final contract offer.

Management has since issued another statement, which said that the Symphony's 63 musicians have resigned to form another orchestra.

The musicians now accuse management of running what they call an "outrageous misinformation campaign."

"I would say one of the basic facts is there are 84 musicians, not 63, and none of them have resigned," Symphony horn player Jonathan Parrish told Hawaii News Now business reporter Howard Dicus.

Parrish also said the musicians have no plans to form another orchestra.

"I think the musicians are very devoted an dedicated to the Honolulu Symphony," Parrish said, "so we look forward to getting back to work and providing music to the community. We think that's what the community wants."

So far, the Symphony Society has preferred to let its press releases speak for themselves.

Society board members voted Thursday to pursue a course of presenting concerts and establishing an education program, which musicians claim is "nothing new."

The union said it is considering filing an unfair labor practice charge against the Symphony Society for stating that the musicians were resigning.

More about this story on HawaiiNewsNow.com:

Honolulu Symphony Society 'accepts resignations'

Future of the Honolulu Symphony in limbo

Honolulu Symphony files for bankruptcy

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.