Magazine article International Musician

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Musicians Reach Tentative Contract Agreement

Magazine article International Musician

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Musicians Reach Tentative Contract Agreement

Article excerpt

The Musicians' Association of Metropolitan Baltimore, Local 40-543, (MAMB) and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Inc. (BSO) onSeptember20reachedaten-tative agreement on a proposed one-year contract. Ratified by the orchestra and by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors, the agreement will enable the Baltimore Symphony to open its concert season on Friday, September 27.

Details of the agreement were not available at press time, but were released at a joint press event on the afternoon of September 23.

The deal will end the 14-week work stoppage of musicians by the BSO, during which orchestra musicians have been locked out of their concert halls and have not received a paycheck.

"Baltimore Symphony Musicians and Local 40-543 are grateful to all of our AFM sisters and brothers who through their verbal and financial support helped us reach this agreement," said Local 40-543 Secretary-Treasurer Mary C. Plaine in a statement. "It is good to know we can count on our colleagues as we continue our fight to preserve and grow the artistic legacy of the BSO."

In an email to orchestra members, BSO CEO Peter Kjome stated, "This has been an extraordinarily challenging time for our organization, and for you most of all. It would be impossible to express how difficult this summer has been, and how meaningful it will be for you to return to the stage. The year ahead will be a pivotal one for the BSO. I believe that one of the most important aspects of the agreement is the commitment to including members of the orchestra in additional aspects of planning, programming, fundraising, and governance. While we have much work to do to strengthen our organization, we know that we can achieve far greater success by working together."

The Baltimore Symphony Musicians have been picketing in front of the Joseph Mey-erhoff Symphony Hall since mid-June and had said they would not return to work until they had a ratified agreement in place.

As negotiations between musicians and management have been ongoing, the most recent development-prior to the September 20 tentative proposal-was a September 9 "final" take-it-or-leave-it offer from management to its musicians. The BSO asked the orchestra to vote on the proposal, which contained an Option No. 1 and an Option No. 2-both options were rejected overwhelmingly by the musicians.

Federal mediators proposed an extension of negotiations until close of business on September 12, which management rejected. Musicians then suggested an extension until the close of voting, but management rejected that proposal as well. …

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