Workplace Issues

Two-Part Harmony

Cleveland Orchestra CFO Jim Menger says contract negotiations are one of his favorite parts of the job.
Marielle SegarraMarch 21, 2013

Name: Jim Menger
Position: CFO of the Cleveland Orchestra
Previous Positions: Controller at the Cleveland Orchestra; manager, audit practice, at Ernst & Young
Notable For: His experience negotiating with unions.

His Take-Away: One of my favorite parts of the job is negotiating contracts. I’m one of several senior management people who sit at the negotiating table with legal counsel. We have four different unions at the orchestra, and each negotiation is different. The musicians’ union is by far the biggest union. It’s represented by a committee of five full-time musicians of the orchestra, along with the president of the local union and their labor counsel. A big part of the contract is working conditions: What are the rules for when they’re playing concerts at home or on the road, or for rehearsal time and performance time? Contractually we’re obligated to begin negotiations at least several months before the contract expires. We haven’t had very many strikes, and when we have had them, they’ve usually been well beyond the deadline. The two sides continue talking and trying to work something out. In the end, we’re not adversaries; we’re in it together, trying to find a road map, if you will, to get to a settlement that meets both sides’ objectives. Not only do I enjoy this, but it’s one of the most important things I do.

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