Union Musicians Strike, Saturday's Concert Canceled
SPOKANE, Wash. - The union representing the musicians of the Spokane Symphony have rejected the latest contract offer from the Spokane Symphony Society. Union members will strike on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012 at 5 p.m. Saturday night's SuperPops performance will be canceled.
"It is with regret that I must announce that after an additional day and a half of intensive bargaining where the Symphony made significant compromises that they felt would bring the sides to an agreement, the musicians have halted the negotiations and called for a strike. It is disappointing that the musicians have chosen to withhold the performance from their audience," said Spokane Symphony Board President Peter Moye.
The contract between the Spokane Symphony Society and the Musicians Local #105 of the American Federation of Musicians expired on Aug. 30, 2012. Negotiations between the Society and the union had been ongoing since March of this year. The musicians have continued to play with an expired contract. The two groups met with a Federal Mediator a couple of times with no agreement. The two groups returned to negotiations on Thursday, Nov. 1.
The musicians have been working under an old contract since 2006. That contract had guaranteed services that included rehearsals, concerts or educational events. These services determined a musician's compensation. As the economy slowed, some programs were canceled while others that were anticipated never came to fruition. Ultimately the core musicians were paid for work they never performed. The cost of those unused services ranged from $120,000 to $180,000.
Since 2009, over $500,000 has been cut from the Symphony's annual operating budget. This has included cutting administrative staff, eliminating 8 full-time equivalent positions, revising programs and eliminating non-critical expenses. Administrative staff members also have taken pay cuts, taken furloughs and donated back vacation time so that musicians pay could be kept at the freeze level agreed to in 2009.
The Board had concluded that they cannot support the service guarantee, an expense that pays for musician services that were planned at the time of the 2006 contract but never performed.
If you bought a ticket to the Nov. 3, 2012 concert, the Symphony will put a credit on their account for the value of tickets purchased, and you do not need to contact the Box Office immediately. You can use this credit for a ticket to a future performance once the season has resumed, or can use it toward another purchase.
Other options include: 1. An immediate exchange into a future concert, with some exclusions. 2. A donation made to the Spokane Symphony in the amount of the tickets purchased. 3. A gift certificate in the amount of the tickets purchased. 4. A refund for the tickets purchased.
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