St. Louis Symphony Musicians Vote on Management Offer

Classic Arts News   St. Louis Symphony Musicians Vote on Management Offer
The St. Louis Symphony made a "last, best, and final" contract offer to musicians after 14 hours of talks yesterday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Musicians will vote on the offer today.

According to the paper, the proposal was for a minimum salary of $76,000, with a $4,000 bonus in the final year of the contract. Musicians overwhelmingly rejected a previous "final offer" of about $72,000 on January 3, sparking the work stoppage that has led to the cancellation of 15 concerts.

The talks, carried out for the second consecutive day with the help of a federal mediator, lasted until about 11:30 p.m. last night.

Flutist Jan Gippo, a representative of the musicians, told the paper that musicians were unlikely to approve the offer. "It's just so far behind [other orchestras]," he said. "We're way too far apart. I don't know what's going to happen now."

Orchestra spokesman Jeff Trammel expressed more optimism. "Management is very hopeful that the musicians will ratify the improved offer and return to the stage of Powell Symphony Hall," he said. "We believe this offer will protect the artistic integrity of the orchestra while maintaining fiscal soundness."

According to Gippo, the two sides were close to a deal at one point yesterday, but that SLSO president Randy Adams backed off. "We were an inch away from agreement," he said. "I was all set to sign a contract, until they came in and said, 'Oh, we have a misunderstanding.' Even the mediator looked surprised."

"Randy doesn't know how to negotiate," Gippo added. "He can say no all day long, but he doesn't know how to get a deal."

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