Symphony Musicians Reject Latest Offer / Board May Cancel Season

Article excerpt

Orchestra Wednesday rejected management's latest offer and said they would be willing to meet with management next week only if management officials wanted to make an offer at or better than last year's annual salary and benefits.

Meanwhile, a copy of the agenda for next week's board of directors meeting showed the board will consider canceling the season in stages, beginning Jan. 4. The agenda item proposed canceling the season altogether by March 1, 1988, and preparing to dissolve the symphony corporation on Dec. 31, 1988, if a settlement is not reached by Sept. 30, 1988.

The musicians have been on strike since Oct. 7.

During a press conference Wednesday on the north steps of the Civic Center Music Hall, musicians spokesman Zach Smith said the musicians had rejected management's latest offer, which was to pay the musicians the same weekly salary they had last year, with a minimum base salary of $450 a week, but to shorten the season to 22 weeks. The minimum annual compensation would amount to $9,900, Smith said.

The musicians' press conference, symphony Executive Director Patrick Alexander said, constituted another example of the musicians "negotiating through the media," he said.

Management originally had proposed shortening the season from 32 to 29 weeks and reducing the minimum base salary to $405 a week, which would have reduced the minimum annual salary from $14,400 to $11,745.

The musicians have said they will not accept a proposal which results in a reduction in annual compensation. In so doing, they have declined to submit any counter-proposals to management.

They are seeking an across-the-board pay increase of about $1,700 annually per musician.

The musicians have modified their proposal by offering six free rehearsals and two concerts to benefit the symphony's foundation and in return proposed having only one week of unpaid vacation during Christmas instead of two.

Management had offered to meet with the musicians on Friday to negotiate, and the musicians responded five minutes before their press conference Wednesday by hand-delivering a letter to management saying they would not be able to meet Friday because of scheduling conflicts. …

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