St. Louis Symphony Musicians Reject Offer, Triggering Work Stoppage

Classic Arts News   St. Louis Symphony Musicians Reject Offer, Triggering Work Stoppage
 
The musicians of the St. Louis Symphony voted to reject management's most recent contract offer in a meeting yesterday, bringing performances to a halt, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Musicians described the work stoppage as a lockout; management said it was a strike. The musicians' previous contract expired on January 2, and neither side appeared to be willing to continue performing without an agreement.

SLSO president Randy Adams said that officials would decide today whether to officially cancel this weekend's performances, which were to feature pianist Orli Shaham and to be conducted by David Robertson, her husband and the orchestra's music director-designate.

The main point of disagreement for the two sides is salary. Management is seeking a pay cut; musicians, who accepted a cut three years ago when the orchestra was on the verge of bankruptcy, want a raise. Musicians currently make a minimum of $73,900; according to the Post-Dispatch, management's "last, best, and final offer" was for about $72,000.

Flutist Jan Gippo, the chairman of the musicians' negotiating committee, said that players did not rail against management before voting 85-3 to reject the offer. He told the paper, "People just got up and said, 'I'm really sad, but I can't accept it.'"

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