Philadelphia Orchestra Talks Deadlocked as Deadline Approaches

Classic Arts News   Philadelphia Orchestra Talks Deadlocked as Deadline Approaches
 
Philadelphia Orchestra management and musicians did not make significant progress in contract talks yesterday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The musicians' current contract, extended a month ago, expires on Thursday, October 21, at 12:01 a.m.

Musicians are continuing to rehearse for next weekend's concerts, but a strike seems increasingly likely, the paper says.

Management and musicians both told Inquirer writer Peter Dobrin off the record that the other was to blame for the deadlock (officially, the talks are under a news blackout). Management continues to insist that musicians must accept a total of $1.8 million in cuts, either in salary or in the size of the orchestra; musicians say that management has ignored their proposals for additional savings and revenue.

Musicians voted to authorize a strike on September 18 before agreeing to a month-long contract extension a day later. According to the Inquirer, another temporary extension is unlikely, and management has rejected an offer by the musicians to extend the current contract for a year.

Both sides have said publicly that the other is endangering the future of the famed ensemble. Orchestra chairman Richard Smoot called the current contract "a roadmap to extinction"; Susan Martin, an attorney for the musicians, said, "We will not preside over the demise of this orchestra."


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