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Mediation Fails in Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Negotiations

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

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Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra members are set to strike in the coming days after rejecting the latest proposal by management. The musicians are represented by the American Federation of Musicians Local 72-147. They were offered a four-year deal with annual income cuts that ranged from two to seven and a half percent. Managed issued a statement that they are surprised and disappointed by the rejection.

The symphony is schedule to open its upcoming season soon and would perform at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas in mid-September, if the strike were not to occur. Now, based on the failure of federal mediation, both of these events could be delayed or cancelled. Federal mediation sessions began in July, but negotiations have been ongoing since January of this year. The two sides reached a temporary agreement that allowed them to finish the previous season, but that temporary arrangement ended in July.

According to a union representative of the symphony, they did everything they could to negotiate the best possible offer and when their efforts failed, they recommended the strike. The rep stated the trike shows musicians are interested in growth, not pay cuts.

The rejected offer from management included fewer paid weeks during the season. There was also an increase in how much musicians would need to contribute to their healthcare coverage. Overall, the cuts were less than the nine percent originally proposed by management, but could have been as high as six and a half percent throughout the first three years of the contract. Musicians would then receive an increase in pay of more than three percent in the fourth year of the contract, which would put the principal players at more than $70,000 per year.

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