San Francisco Symphony Musicians Ratify Three-Year Contract

Classic Arts News   San Francisco Symphony Musicians Ratify Three-Year Contract
The musicians of the San Francisco Symphony voted on February 3 to ratify the new three-year contract negotiated with orchestra management a week ago, the SFS announced.

The contract runs through November 29, 2008. Musicians' base annual salary, previously $104,000, will rise to $107,120 in the first year, $114,000 in the second year, and $119,600 in the third year.

The additional bonuses paid to musicians based on their seniority also went up, with the most senior musicians now getting an additional $180 per week, or $9,360 per year, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

In exchange, musicians agreed to changes to their health plans that will save the SFS money, to perform an additional concert to benefit their pension fund, and to new work rules regarding scheduling, tours, and broadcasts.

The musicians will continue to be paid less than their colleagues at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, who will make a minimum of $122,200 in 2007-08 and $129,585 in 2008-09, but in the short term will make about as much as the New York Philharmonic's musicians, who make $107,120 this season and $112,060 in 2006-07. The SFS players had said in public protests last month that they deserved to be on par with the Los Angeles and New York orchestras.

"The talented musicians of the San Francisco Symphony are the heart and soul of our organization," said SFS president John Goldman. "his contract recognizes our stature as one of the top orchestras in the country while setting a prudent financial course for our organization."

Violist David Gaudry, who negotiated on behalf of the musicians, said, "The dynamic partnership between the musicians, MTT and our loyal audience has resulted in great artistic achievements over the last several years. This contract recognizes those achievements and will propel this orchestra forward to even greater heights on the American orchestral scene."

The musicians have been playing without a contract since November 2005; during the talks, they threatened briefly to boycott an SFS tour to China that begins today.

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