Cleveland Orchestra Musicians Sign New Labor Agreement

Classic Arts News   Cleveland Orchestra Musicians Sign New Labor Agreement
The management and musicians of the Cleveland Orchestra have agreed to a new three-year contract, shortly before leaving for a 12-concert tour of European festivals, according to The Plain Dealer of Cleveland.

The players voted 77-16 to ratify the terms of the agreement on Saturday (August 26), just in advance of their departure for Europe today, according to the paper. The contract was due to expire during the tour.

The new agreement, which takes effect September 4 and runs through August 30, 2009, will see players' pay rise 10.5 percent over the three-year period, with annual minimum salary increasing from the current $104,520 to $115,440 in 2008-09.

Other provisions of the contract include increased health care premium contributions by the musicians, the introduction of domestic partner health care coverage, and streaming audio of the orchestra's concerts being made available on the Internet for 14 days after radio broadcast.

The apparent swiftness and smoothness of these negotiations — this is the first time in recent history that a Cleveland Orchestra musicians' contract was settled before the previous one had expired, according to The Plain Dealer — are in contrast to two years ago, when players and management had to extend the negotiating period (and the expiring contract) two months into the concert season. During that year musician-management tension at major US orchestras in general seemed to be running high, with contentious negotiations at the Chicago Symphony and especially the Philadelphia Orchestra as well as in Cleveland.

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