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Labor Action at The Philadelphia Orchestra in Contrast to Era of Progress

September 30, 2016

 

Labor Action at The Philadelphia Orchestra in Contrast to Era of Progress

 (Philadelphia, PA)—Leadership of The Philadelphia Orchestra expressed its regret today that its musicians have chosen to stage a labor action at the crest of what has been one of the most significant turnaround periods in the long and storied history of the orchestra and at the opening of Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s fifth season as music director.

Allison Vulgamore, president and chief executive officer of The Philadelphia Orchestra, said, “The decision by the musicians to cancel the Season Opening Gala performance is naturally disappointing to all of us. However, even as our last several years have seen us overcome numerous challenges, we hope this, too, will soon lead to a mutually satisfactory agreement.”

The Orchestra has achieved several milestones since the orchestra filed for Chapter 11 reorganization more than five years ago. Among them:

  • Introduced, Yannick, one of the most dynamic new music directors in all of classical music and secured his leadership through the 2025-26 season
  • Increased community service that has deepened the Orchestra’s commitment to Philadelphia
  • An increase in earned revenue by 28 percent since 2011, and an increase of 44 percent in contributed income in the same period
  • Introduction of the LiveNote app to further the Orchestra’s commitment to broadening audiences through new technology
  • Renewed opportunities to be cultural ambassadors that have created enduring partnerships around the world, particularly in China
  • A consistent level of artistic accomplishment that has established a golden era of the Philadelphia Sound 

The musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra are members of the Philadelphia Musicians Union, Local 77. The central collective bargaining issue is musician compensation. Orchestra leadership offered the musicians annual base pay increases of two percent each year for the next three years on an annual base pay of $127,608 as well as the establishment of a musicians’ appreciation fund that would allow them to share in the Orchestra’s success. The annual increase before the musicians’ fund contribution would bring the annual base pay to more than $135,000 a year by the third year. Leadership also offered to increase the size of the orchestra by one position. The musicians rejected this offer today.

“The Philadelphia Orchestra is now at a threshold defined by world-class artistry, inspirational programming, service to our communities, engaged patrons, and civic relevance. Greatness for an orchestra has been reimagined and looks entirely different than it did 100 years ago. The Philadelphia Orchestra cannot rest on its progress or define a spectacular path for the Fabulous Philadelphians without matching this progress with a commitment to fiscal discipline,” Vulgamore said.

“We have proposed an offer reflective of the progress we’ve made but mindful of our duty to preserve one of the world’s great orchestras for generations to come,” Chairman Richard Worley said.

Concerts for this weekend, including October 1 and October 2, have been canceled.

Patrons are urged to go to www.philorch.org for updates on negotiations and the scheduling of upcoming performances.