October 4, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Philadelphia, PA – A two-day strike by musicians in the Philadelphia Orchestra ended Oct. 2, as members of American Federation of Musicians Local 77 voted 73-11 to ratify a three-year contract.
The agreement will give them a 2% raise in its first year and 2.5% in the second and third years. The musicians had rejected a previous proposal, saying that after years of going without raises since the orchestra filed for bankruptcy, they were making significantly less than their peers in the Boston Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony. “It doesn't get us to our goal in terms of competitive wages,” cellist John Koen, chairman of the members' committee, said of the deal, but its three-year length means they can negotiate for gains sooner. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, which also walked out Sept. 30, remains on strike. Management says the orchestra is losing $1.5 million a year. The musicians had unanimously rejected a contract proposal that would have cut their pay by 15% and frozen pensions for orchestra members with less than 30 years’ experience, switching them to a 401(k) plan. Read more