PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) and its musicians today announced a new three-year contract between the PSO and members of Local 60-471 of the American Federation of Musicians.
This agreement comes three months before the Sept. 4 expiration date of the current contract. The new contract takes effect Sept. 5, 2011, and runs through Sept. 1, 2014. This settlement follows several months of negotiations focused on maintaining the orchestra’s artistic excellence and ensuring its long-term financial stability, while maintaining orchestra compensation within the top tier of American orchestras.
The new agreement calls for a 9.7 percent wage reduction in the first year and a wage freeze in the second year of the contract. There will be a wage-opener in the third year of the contract. In addition, the musicians also agreed to make a contribution of $100,000 to the PSO’s Annual Fund in the first and second years of the new contract. Under the new agreement, the annual base salary in the first year will be approximately $100,110.
PSO President and CEO, Lawrence Tamburri, said, “I am deeply appreciative of all the hard work by the musicians’ Orchestra Committee and the PSO’s management team, as well as tremendous sacrifice and extraordinary generosity of our musicians. There is no denying that the economic upheaval affected numerous cultural organizations, including the PSO. The management team and musicians understood each other’s concerns. This agreement allows us to maintain the highest level of artistic quality, enabling our beloved and loyal patrons to enjoy performances of the highest caliber by one of the world’s great orchestras.”
PSO horn player Joe Rounds, chairman of the musicians’ Orchestra Committee, said, “This agreement, and our donation of $200,000 over the next two years, demonstrate a deep love for our orchestra and a commitment to the City of Pittsburgh. This gesture of good faith brings an opportunity for our extended Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra family to join us in that commitment, and to provide coming generations with excellence and beauty.”
The new agreement also reflects a change in retirement benefits, moving newer members of the orchestra into a defined contribution plan, and freezing the defined benefit provisions of musicians with 30 or more years of service. The parties also concluded new, more flexible language concerning electronic media activities.
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been a vital part of the City of Pittsburgh’s heritage for more than 115 years. With its noble history of the finest conductors and musicians and its strong commitment to artistic quality and excellence, audiences around the world have claimed the PSO as their orchestra of choice. In September 2008, the PSO welcomed its ninth Music Director Manfred Honeck. Beginning in the early 1900s with frequent performances in Canada, the PSO confirmed its ranking as a world-class orchestra, earning critical acclaim for each tour abroad. Its 35 international tours include 19 European tours, eight trips to the Far East and two to South America. In January 2004, the PSO became the first American orchestra to perform at the Vatican for Pope John Paul II, as part of the Pontiff’s Silver Jubilee celebration.