Detroit Symphony Reveals Details of New Contract

Classic Arts News   Detroit Symphony Reveals Details of New Contract
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has announced details of a new three-year contract that ensures its standing among the nation's highest-paid orchestras, the central issue in recent negotiations. Rather than management's proposed pay cuts in the first two seasons, musicians will receive a higher base salary rate and a minimum 3.6% raise (resulting in a $104,650 base salary) during the final year.

The players agreed to three unpaid weeks in the first season and two in the second season, costing them about $10,000. However, their weekly rates increase with each season, hitting $2,020 by the third year, when they return to a 52-week season.

In light of Michigan's sluggish economy, the orchestra will save about $1 million through the concessions.

"Key to the new deal is a provision that rolls the players' electronic media guarantee ... into their annual base salary," writes Mark Stryker of the The Detroit Free Press. The new contract grants a lump sum equivalent to what musicians had previously received on a per-radio-broadcast basis; management can now use their performances in various transmissions, including television and internet, without extra charges.

In addition, musicians will pay for some of their health care costs; new employees will be frozen out of one of the two pension plans to which the DSO contributes on their behalf.

The Free Press also reported orchestra president Anne Parsons saying that the DSO will probably finish in the red for 2007, as a new law dictates that the orchestra set aside an extra $1.5 million for its pension funds over the next three years.

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