Saint Louis Symphony Musicians Agree to New Contract Without Old Unrest

Categories: Arts, News
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The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and the American Federation of Musicians, Local 2-197, announced an agreement on a new three-year labor contract yesterday -- avoiding the labor disputes and work stoppages that have plagued previous negotiations.

The agreement was reached more than one year prior to the expiration of the current contract, providing four years of labor stability for the SLSO. The new contract goes into effect on August 30, 2010, and runs through September 1, 2013.

Highlights from the new three-year agreement include:

●   Annual minimum scale increases from $77,530 in FY10 to $81,892 in FY13, or 5.6% over the life of the contract in increments of 2.27%, 1.75%, and 1.5%, averaging 1.88% annually
●   Pension contribution increases from 5% in FY10 to 7% in FY13
●   43rd week added to the season (included in the annual minimum scale increases) which provides additional services
●   Ability to undertake local radio/non-commercial television broadcasts without additional compensation or approval

Fred Bronstein, SLSO President and Executive Director, said, "This is a 'win-win' agreement. It moves the orchestra forward very modestly following several years of almost 'flat' compensation but in a fiscally responsible and disciplined manner that respects the challenges inherent in today's environment.  At the same time, a 43rd week will facilitate additional revenue opportunities, which ties directly to the SLSO's recently implemented Building Our Business revenue initiatives and new strategic plan, a multi-year vision that focuses intensely on audience building."

Bradford Buckley, Chairman of the SLSO Musicians' Council, said, "The negotiating process was a healthy one, with each side willing to listen, to reason, and to find common ground with the other. The agreement that has emerged is not only a good one for the musicians, but for the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra as a whole.  We've proven to ourselves that labor and management can work together in good faith, which I believe reflects on the longtime stability and continued progress--both on the artistic side and on the business side--of the SLSO."

Vicky Smolik, President of the Musicians' Association of St. Louis, Local 2-197, A.F.M., said, "Both union labor and SLSO management had goals in common that allowed us to reach a responsible agreement with stability in a tough economic time.  Adding a 43rd week allows us to make progress both financially and artistically.  The St. Louis community will now have even more opportunities to hear live music from our world-class orchestra."
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