Magazine article International Musician

Four Symphonies Reach Contract Agreements

Magazine article International Musician

Four Symphonies Reach Contract Agreements

Article excerpt

May was a productive month for AFM symphony orchestra contract negotiations. On May 23 the Oregon Symphony ratified a two-year agreement that covers the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 seasons.

The 2006-2007 agreement calls for a 1% increase in pay, which is retroactive to the beginning of the season. Beginning August 1, musicians will receive an additional weekly pay raise of $35.67 and another 3% increase beginning January 1, 2008. The new contract also establishes a pay differential for senior members of the symphony.

In an effort to address financial challenges faced by the symphony, a joint labor-management work group will be assembled. Its purpose is to, in part, construct a rational season length and work flow, create a framework within which musicians will have more say in the hiring of critical staff, market the symphony to new audiences, and establish educational programming.

While paid personal leave was reduced from a maximum of 12 services to seven, eight services of unpaid leave were added for audition time, and musicians have the option of using paid time for audition leave. The symphony's season will remain at 41 weeks.

The Nashville Symphony Orchestra ratified a five-year agreement May 29, which begins August 1 and continues through July 31, 2012. The musicians' committee was assisted by AFM Negotiator Chris Durham. The contract provides for a significant pay increase. The breakdown of the increase is as follows: a 14.5% increase in year one; 4% in each of the next three years; and 7.9% in the final year.

Other improvements include a floating week of vacation to be added in year two, an increased pension, and the ability of musicians to donate unused sick time to each other. A string rotation and relief policy will also be added in response to concerns raised by string players. Educational programs will now be off-contract and all participants will be paid at the NSO per-service rate. …

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