Philadelphia Orchestra Asks Mayor to Rejoin Stalled Contract Talks

Classic Arts News   Philadelphia Orchestra Asks Mayor to Rejoin Stalled Contract Talks
The Philadelphia Orchestra Association and its musicians have been unable to reach a final contract deal, and have asked mayor John Street to rejoin talks, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

On November 5, Street announced that the musicians and management had agreed on "framework" for a new contract, and last week, both sides told the Inquirer that they had settled the most contentious issues: salary, pension, and cuts to the size of the orchestra. But parts of the settlement have apparently unraveled in the week since.

According to the Inquirer, the "tentative settlement"‹neither side would go so far as to call it a "tentative agreement"‹came only after Street told musicians that management was prepared to lock them out, ending performances until they agreed to a new contract.

Street first intervened in the talks on October 20, convincing the two sides to extend their existing contract through October 31. When that deadline passed, they agreed to "stop the clock" at his request and continue talks.

The contract originally expired on September 20, on the eve of the orchestra's season-opening concerts. Musicians voted to authorize a strike at the time, but then agreed to a month-long extension.

Several of the nation's major orchestras were engaged in contracts talks this fall, but the Philadelphia Orchestra is the last to reach agreement. The musicians of the New York Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and Chicago Symphony have all signed new contracts.

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