Players told the Inquirer that "disappointment" did not begin to describe their feelings about the offer.
Management has proposed a wage freeze for the upcoming season, followed by per-week raises of $30, $40, and $50 for the next three years, respectively, the Inquirer reports. Orchestra management also proposed reducing the size of the orchestra, through attrition, by seven players.
Musicians are seeking salaries comparable with those of other major U.S. orchestras. Under the current contract, Philadelphia players make a minimum of $105,040 per year. In comparison, musicians' salaries at the Boston Symphony Orchestra will begin at $108,160 in the upcoming season; in 2005-06, minimum salaries at the BSO will reach $112,840.
The Philadelphia Orchestra's five-year contract for 106 musicians and three librarians is set to expire Monday, September 20, at 12:01 a.m. The 2004-05 season begins Tuesday. A federal mediator arrived yesterday to help with the contentious negotiations.
The Philadelphia Orchestra musicians last went on strike in 1996, when the impasse lasted for 64 days.