Florida Orchestra Musicians Ratify New Contract After 11 Months of Negotiations

Classic Arts News   Florida Orchestra Musicians Ratify New Contract After 11 Months of Negotiations
 
Musicians of the Tampa-based Florida Orchestra ratified a labor contract on January 21, the St. Petersburg Times reports.

The musicians had performed without a new contract since the beginning of the new season last September. The terms of the previous contract were extended to cover the period of negotiations, which began the previous March and required a federal mediator in November.

The new contract is retroactive to the start of the season.

The new, three-year agreement requires the musicians' base pay to rise from $25,120 in the current season to $30,090 in the 2006-07 season, and the second and third years of the contract include a week of paid vacation.

The length of the season is extended from 32 to 34 weeks, and the contract covers 80 full-time musicians.

Other terms covered by the new contract include the amounts paid to principals, and the percentage of salary contributed by the orchestra to the musicians' pension funds, which increases slightly.

After a 17 percent pay cut in 2003-04, the Florida Orchestra musicians were among the lowest-paid in the country. The orchestra posted a deficit of $207,000 last year on a budget of about $7.9 million.

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