St. Louis Symphony Management and Musicians Reach Tentative Deal

Classic Arts News   St. Louis Symphony Management and Musicians Reach Tentative Deal
Negotiators for the musicians' union and the management of the St. Louis Symphony agreed on terms for a new contract last night, the orchestra announced.

If the agreement is ratified by union membership, it would end the work stoppage that has silenced the orchestra since January 3. A spokesman for the SLSO declined to release any details until musicians vote.

The deal was reached with the help of Charles Fuchs, a federal mediator. St. Louis mayor Francis Slay and Bob Soutier, the president of the Greater St. Louis Labor Council, were also involved in the talks, according to a statement.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, musicians—some of whom are out of town—will vote over the weekend. Orchestra officials expect to be able to announce the results on Tuesday, March 1.

"I'm relieved," flutist Jan Gippo, a representative of the players, told the Post-Dispatch. "It was tough. I believe that it's the best deal we can do. I do have a package that we can recommend."

The SLSO has canceled 18 subscription concerts, including this weekend's events, since the previous musicians' contract expired on January 2 and musicians rejected a contract offer on January 3. The major point of disagreement has been salary, with musicians seeking a raise and orchestra officials insisting that the group cannot afford one.

The two sides has been cordial during several months of talks last fall, but relations became strained as the work stoppage wore on. Musicians said that they had been locked out, while management said that players were striking illegally. The atmosphere became more tense last week, when a deal was nearly reached, then scuttled at the last minute. That proposed contract reportedly included a small raise for musicians.

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