From the Woodruff Arts Center and fed mediators

From a Friday statement by Virginia Hepner, president and CEO, Woodruff Arts Center: "The protracted financial challenges at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra are very serious and threaten the health of the entire Woodruff Arts Center. The ASO has had 12 years of accumulated deficits, a severe reduction in its endowment and an annual operating gap that we cannot afford to continue.

Over the last eight months, our team has proposed many potential scenarios to the musicians in an attempt to find a solution to the problem. We continue to ask the musicians for constructive ideas to help us address these challenges and we are frustrated that they have turned a deaf ear to the situation.

We are saddened that they are attempting to disparage the reputation of Doug Hertz, our chairman. He is widely recognized as one of the most successful and generous leaders in Atlanta and we feel extremely fortunate to have his ongoing support at The Woodruff Arts Center.

Our fervent hope is that a federal mediator will bring calm to the protests, picketing and petitions and get us back to meaningful progress at the negotiating table.”

From a Friday announcement by federal mediators: The U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) today announced it will provide mediation services to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra musicians and management in their current labor dispute.

“In response to a joint request from the parties, the FMCS will provide mediation to the orchestra musicians and management with the goal of helping them reach a mutually acceptable resolution to the issues that divide them. FMCS Acting Director Allison Beck will lead the Agency’s effort.

“The FMCS has been and remains in contact with the parties. Federal mediators will begin meeting with the parties next week. No further information regarding meeting dates will be released at this time. “Our mediators are aware of the public interest in the conduct of these discussions, but due to the sensitivity and complexity of these negotiations, the FMCS will have no further comment, as is the Agency’s policy.”