Montreal Symphony Musicians and Management Reach Tentative Deal

Classic Arts News   Montreal Symphony Musicians and Management Reach Tentative Deal
Representatives of the musicians and management of the Montreal Symphony have reached an "agreement in principle" on a new contract, the two sides said in a joint statement released yesterday.

If the players and the MSO board ratify the agreement, it will end the five-month-old musicians' strike that has led to the cancellation of 32 concerts. According to the Montreal Gazette, the musicians will vote on the contract today. No details of the agreement will be released until it is ratified.

The musicians went on strike on May 9, after playing without a contract for 21 months. The major points of disagreement between the two sides were salary and work rules regarding rehearsals, tours, and recordings. Orchestra officials insisted that the orchestra needed to reduce costs to survive; musicians said that the proposed work rules violated Canadian labor laws and that they were paid far less than musicians in peer ensembles.

In August, with the two sides at an impasse, talks came to a halt; they resumed in mid-September, days after the MSO began canceling the opening concerts of its 2005-06 season.

The concerts scheduled for tomorrow and October 19 have already been canceled. According to the Gazette, the season will resume on October 23, when music director designate Kent Nagano is scheduled to conduct his first concerts of the season, if the new contract is ratified.

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