Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Orpheum Picket Fall Out

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra - Press Release

VSO Concerts Affected by CUPE Strike

Before and during the VSO’s Opening Weekend concerts, the conduct of CUPE members on picket lines at the Orpheum resulted in violent and obstructive behaviour – some of which required police action to mitigate – which, together with other conduct of picketers, has led to the VSO being strongly concerned for the safety and welfare of our customers, musicians, administrative staff, and volunteers.

Despite a decision reached Wednesday, September 27th by the Labour Relations Board, which issued an interim order granting third party picketing relief at the stage door of the Orpheum Theatre, giving the VSO every right under the Labour Code to conduct business at the Orpheum Theatre, we believe that safety is of paramount importance – a belief that has led to the decisions made regarding the above concerts.

We apologize for the inconvenience, though this issue is beyond the VSO’s control. Please remember that all concerts outside of the Orpheum will be performed as scheduled.

Email: customerservice@vancouversymphony.ca


VSO concert goer will not be purchasing symphony tickets again

CUPE [October 3, 2007 11:42 AM]

Bill Pollard, a VSO concert goer, UBC employee and CUPE 2950 member wrote a passionate letter to the VSO today (see below) explaining his reasons for why he will not be purchasing Vancouver Symphony Orchestra concert tickets again. He is unhappy with the VSO attempt to brand all CUPE workers as a result of what police consider to be a "minor alleged assault" that has not even been heard in court yet.

Branding the isolated incident concerning Mr. McLure (the actual cause and effect of which has yet to be heard before the courts) as 'union intimidation' smacks of elitism and class warfare on the part of the VSO. Rather than admit that the symphony has no business performing at a concert hall behind picket lines, you chose to brand members of my union as a 'threat' worthy of closing your doors. Shame.

I close with a suggestion for Mr. Tovey and your Board of Directors: if you don't want Union members attending your concerts, don't send us your advertising.

Bill Pollard

Today is day 76 of this civic strike of 6,000 workers - a strike that by any objective standard can only be seen as most peaceful and disciplined in memory, with this police charge on the weekend being the first during the strike. What is most ironic, is that it is alleged to have occured this Saturday while CUPE 15 picketers, who haven't seen a pay cheque in over 2.5 months were dressed up in formal wear and singing songs to concert goers who were crossing their picketline purely for entertainment reasons - not to get their kids to daycare or ensure they receive some vital civic service, but purely for entertainment.


VSO says no concerts this week due to civic strike

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - Concerts are off this week for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra because of the CUPE strike. The Classical Mystery Tour featuring music of the Beatles with the VSO has been cancelled for Wednesday. If you have tickets for this event, you can call Ticketmaster or VSO customer service.

The VSO Pops concerts won't be happening this Friday and Saturday, but could possibly be rescheduled. The Tea and Trumpets concert for Thursday has been rescheduled for April. The VSO said the behavior of some CUPE picketers, particularly a recent incident where police were called in, has led to the decision to call off shows this week.


VSO cancels shows after picket-line scuffle

Vancouver -- Sometimes the show mustn't go on. The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra has decided to cancel or move its shows scheduled for the Orpheum Theatre, as the strike by city workers continues.

Last week, the VSO decided to go ahead with its season-opening concert at the Orpheum, a city-run property, after the Labour Relations Board agreed to disallow picketing outside the stage door.

But after an assault charge was laid resulting from an altercation on the picket line outside the theatre Saturday night, the VSO changed its mind. In a release, it says it is "strongly concerned for the safety and welfare of our customers, musicians, administrative staff and volunteers."

As a result, the Classical Mystery Tour (the VSO playing the Beatles) and the VSO Pops concerts scheduled for this week have been cancelled. Tonight's Tea and Trumpets concert has been rescheduled for April.


Weekend incident outside Orpheum leads to assault charges

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - A Vancouver man is facing assault charges after a weekend incident outside the Orpheum Theatre. Police were called on Saturday after an Orpheum employee was attacked. Police say security followed the suspect who was arrested a short time later at Granville and Smythe. Fifty-four year old William George McClure is facing a charge of assault.

Police are not commenting on whether the attack has anything to do with the ongoing civic strike in Vancouver. The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra was allowed to hold their opening night at the theatre on Saturday, despite pickets at the front door.


From the Vancouver Province -

That's Strike, as in Job Action . . .

Vancouver police confirmed today that a CUPE worker faces assault charges after allegedly "striking" a VSO violinist in the family jewels over the weekend.
William "The Masher" McClure, a 54-year-old city clerk who belongs to CUPE Local 15, allegedly struck the 55-year-old male violinist outside the Orpheum Theatre, which is behind picket lines but permitted to honour its VSO concert-series commitments as per a B.C. Labour Relations Board ruling last week.

. . . "Dirty Pool, McClure!"

The Masher was supposed to remain 10 metres away from the stage door, but something about the violinist, perhaps his frilly silk cravat, reportedly set the normally mild-mannered clerk off. The VSO is adding "extra security personnel" for future performances and posting laminated copies of the Queensberry Rules on all concert hall doors.


Man charged with assault of city employee at Orpheum

Vancouver Sun

Published: Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A 54-year-old Vancouver man, William George McClure, has been charged with assault of a city employee at the Orpheum Theatre on Saturday night.

Police said a man was arrested for assault at Granville and Smithe after an alleged took place after striking civic workers set up a picket line outside the theatre for the season-opening concert by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

The opening night ahead after the Labour Relations Board granted leaving one door of the Orpheum open to the musicians and house technicians.

The public, however, had to cross CUPE picket lines.

Some of the 20 to 30 picketers at the three public entrances to the Orpheum on Saturday chanted "shame-on-you" at ticket-holders.



Anonymous said...

excuse me but are not musicians in a union?

Picket Boy said...

Vancouver Musicians Association (Local 145) www.vma145.ca

Is the VMA a union?

Yes and No.
For the vast majority of our members, the VMA is a professional association made up of self employed, independent contractors who solicit their own engagements or have booking agents or managers secure bookings for them.

On the other hand, the VMA does have Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA's) with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, the Prince George Symphony Orchestra and the Vancouver Opera Orchestra.

The VMA is the certified bargaining agent for these orchestras in accordance with the Labour Code of British Columbia.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the VSO has over-reacted on this one.

Anonymous said...

What? Since when was the VSO deemed an essential service. All the other shows over the past months were re-scheduled to other venues. How does the VSO rate! Clearly the citizens of Vancouver need to wake up and realize that City management is catering to the needs of the rich and affluent - this strike DOES affect various services throughout the city - why should the VSO be allowed to skirt through it? Sullivan knows which side of his bread is buttered. So a few shows are now cancelled. Boo-hoo.

jonuck said...

Knowing the facts -I don't think this ridiculous charge will see a courtroom. He should charge them!

I would like to also inform members that during the strike of 2000 the VSO came to our union exec and begged them to let them play as they were in dire financial situation AND guess what we let them. How's that for a stab in the back?

Anonymous said...

Umm, shouldn't CUPE supporters be distancing themselves from the actions of Mr. MacClure rather than blaming the VSO?

jonuck said...

I'm sorry if my post blamed the VSO of course I meant to say the individuals involved

And no we shouldn't be distancing ourselves from him but from the drivel that is reported in the media.

Anonymous said...

Umm, shouldn't CUPE supporters be distancing themselves from the actions of Mr. MacClure rather than blaming the VSO?

You're missing the point. Nobody condones actions of an aggressive nature. But how does the VSO rate over parks, libraries, daycare, sanitation, rec facilities, or indeed, any of the rock concerts,etc. that had to move to other venues. I personally have taken some verbal abuse on the line from some (a minority) members of the public and you don't see that in the news (and I might ad that almost 95% of the public who do say something to me offer support, rather than insults).

jonuck said...

I'm sorry you are missing the point- he was NOT displaying aggressive behaviour and as a matter of fact he was yelling for help!!!!!!!!
his only crime was to be be near the stage door without a picket sign so as to distance himself from us

Anonymous said...


jonuck said...

yes you're point is well taken and we can't fight his case in the media as they don't report properly but I am telling you/other brother and sisters that he did not display aggression or assault anyone as the VSO manager is claiming, It just plain did not happen.

I am sorry to seem inflamed but I am still in shock that he almost got tasered by the police who thank goodness realized it wasn't necessary.

Anonymous said...

Funny thing is that most people could care less about the VSO. Hence why they are nearly always bankrupt. Rather than let a nothing concert go forward CUPE leaders decided to turn this into some kind of ground zero solidarity show. Once again only CUPE get’s the black eye and now the VSO will forever blame CUPE for their financial woes. CUPE mishandled this one big time but the VSO deserves to rot laying the bait that CUPE stupidly walked into.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I cannot believe the whining and and incredible deniel most union workers are displaying. Get with the times and be happy you have a job that pays decently. Since when did any type of assault become "okay" or tolerated in our society? If the VSO deems the Orpheum unsafe for its musicians and concert goers, then good on them for taking a stand. Not all musicians make the type of salary that a civic worker -garbage collector or otherwise does. Do you really think the musicians are happy they are not working?
Wake up and take a look around at the whole world , not just your own backyard.