S.F. Symphony Rejects "Cooling Off Period," Cancels East Coast Tour

Categories: Labor

Kristen Loken
Another sad song
Musicians with the San Francisco Symphony are reportedly steadfast in their strike, refusing to play their East Coast tour scheduled for later this week.

The Examiner reports this morning that musicians and management remain at odds after a federal mediator attempted to intervene and suggest the symphony continue its tour while both sides take a 60-day "cooling off period."

Yesterday morning, at the end of the fourth consecutive negotiating session, both sides were deadlocked as management was willing to abide by the mediator's recommendation, but the musicians were not.

As a result, a matinee performance at Davies Symphony Hall was canceled, as was the East Coast tour at Carnegie Hall.

According to the musicians' website:

We feel we have done everything we could to work with the Administration to reach a deal that would have allowed the tour to proceed. We are committed to achieving a fair contract that reflects the important role the Musicians play in the continuing success of the organization, and we deeply regret that this dispute has resulted in cancelled concerts for both our local audiences and on the East Coast.

At issue is money: Musicians want a significant pay increase, considering San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the world, and instruments aren't cheap. They are also worried that local talent will continue to leave to play with other orchestras where compensation is more on par with the cost of living.

Symphony officials said Sunday that their most recent proposal included a new minimum annual salary of $145,979 with annual increases of 1 percent and 2 percent. The proposal also included a $74,000 maximum annual pension, 10 weeks paid vacation and full coverage health care plan options with no monthly premium contributions for most options.

Additional compensation would include radio payments, over-scale and seniority pay, which raises the current average pay to more than $165,000, symphony officials said.

As for the musicians, well, this proposal was hardly music to their ears.

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