Houston Symphony Musicians and Management Agree to Pay Freeze

Classic Arts News   Houston Symphony Musicians and Management Agree to Pay Freeze
Negotiators for the musicians and management of the Houston Symphony reached a tentative agreement on a yearlong contract extension that would include a wage freeze for the 2005-06 season.

The contract must be ratified by the musicians and the symphony's board.

The new contract would run through October 2007. According to its terms, minimum pay would remain at $1,490 per week through next season—eliminating a scheduled raise—and and the season would include three weeks of unpaid furlough.

The minimum salary would rise to $1,520 per week the following season, with another three unpaid weeks.

Ed Wulfe, president of the Houston Symphony Society, said, "The musicians, through this new agreement, will be making a substantial contribution to our efforts to achieve financial stability in fiscal year 2006 and beyond."

The orchestra's accumulated debt, according to the Houston Chronicle, now stands at about $887,000. The financial problems began in 2001 with Tropical Storm Allison and continued in the economic downturn after September 11. The paper reports that the orchestra is still depending on capital-campaign donations to cover operating expenses.

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