The orchestra's contract with the ballet does not expire until June, but musicians were asked last month to take a 50 percent pay cut for the rest of the current season, which runs through May, in order to help the company deal with a reported $1 million deficit.
The musicians also took pay cuts in 2001 and 2003, although those cuts, 12 percent and 5 percent respectively, expired when the seasons ended. Those contracts were negotiated by former managing director Steven Libman, who resigned last June.
The company's new interim managing director, Robert Petrilli, did not comment on the labor stalemate.
The current proposed pay cut leaves the musicians with salaries of $70 per performance, well below scale for musicians at other Pittsburgh venues. The musicians, represented by Local 60-471 of the American Federation of Musicians, made a counteroffer of a 14 percent pay cut that came with an "equality of sacrifice" stipulation, which required that the company's management and staff would have to match the $22,000 saved by the musicians' lowered salaries.
The company made another offer of a 20 percent pay cut, which the musicians rejected.
Although no new negotiations are planned, however, the musicians still intend to play the scheduled performances. Cynthia Anderson, oboist and co-chair of the Pittsburgh Opera and Ballet Orchestra Committee said, "We have every intention of being there for rehearsal on Monday."