The Nashville Symphony has announced that it will discontinue its food service operation starting in August which will affect 38-full and part-time workers.
In a statement on the Nashville Symphony's Web site, the Chairman of the Board, Ed Goodrich, called the decision a difficult one, and said everyone is "doing more with less."
After August 4, when the layoffs begin, the symphony will begin using a short list of preferred caterers.
In a second statement later Tuesday morning, the Nashville Symphony Communications Director Jonathan Marx indicated that "16 full-time food service employees have been affected, with five offered part-time positions. Twenty-one part-time, on-call staff will no longer be used."
In addition, Marx said in the statement that "two full-time events employees have been affected, and one full-time events position presently unfilled due to attrition will be eliminated."
Goodrich went on to say that the food and beverage employees have done "an incredible job" and the decision does not reflect their work.
The symphony also said they will provide severance to the affected employees.
The layoffs come as the symphony faces a June 28 deadline. That's the date a group of lenders headed by Bank of America have set for a foreclosure auction.
The banks are owed $82.3 million.
After hearing news of the layoffs Mayor Karl Dean told Nashville's News 2 that "obviously the symphony has had to make some difficult decisions about operations in terms of lowering their costs."
While not directly involved in any of the symphony negotiations, Mayor Dean remains somewhat of an optimist even with the upcoming foreclosure auction for the Schermerhorn.
"I am hopeful over the next week or so that something will be done for the symphony to continue to play in the Schermerhorn building," he added.
The staff layoffs come as the Nashville Symphony musicians start negotiations Wednesday on a new contract.
"We know how important the symphony is to Nashville. The timing of this is unfortunate," said Dave Pomeroy, who heads the Nashville Musicians Association AFM Local 257, which is negotiating with symphony management. "The main thing we want to see is that the musicians are respected and that the Nashville Symphony will find a way to continue."