Musicians from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra marched at the front of a Labor Day parade in the city as they battle with management over a tight budget.
Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO President Saundra L. Williams said in a statement that the musicians from the nationally recognized orchestra and the Detroit Federation of Musicians had been invited to lead Monday's parade in a show of support.
"We agree numbers are down, not good right now. We understand the economic climate regionally and nationally is very unfavorable," said 27-year veteran cellist Hayden McKay. "That's why we're offering cuts, that's why we're offering ongoing cuts, pretty deep ones. There has to be balance."
The orchestra is in turmoil, with the union voting to reject management proposals and authorizing a strike to try to avoid steep pay cuts. The orchestra has said it's disappointed that musicians rejected proposals.
"Imagine cuts so deep that we're going to start losing some of the talent, great players that have come to Detroit over many decades. We're going to have trouble attracting that next generation of great talent," McKay said.
Musicians will work until at least Sept. 23 under terms of the old contract. The season is scheduled to start in October.