Contract in place, but challenges for Cleveland Orchestra

Posted on: January 22, 2010

In Wednesday’s (1/20) Plain Dealer (Cleveland), Zachary Lewis writes, “The musicians and management of the Cleveland Orchestra settled their differences Tuesday and put an end to a brief work stoppage, the first at the institution in three decades. The new contract, a three-year deal entailing a two-year pay freeze followed by raises, was hailed as a victory by both sides for maintaining wages, facilitating the orchestra’s imminent residency in Miami and providing security until 2012. … But while an agreement is in place, the orchestra still faces considerable obstacles. Ticket sales and charitable giving are down, and the value of the endowment has dropped from $142.7 million in 2007 to $97 million now. Management has begun to address these problems through additional residencies and programming aimed at attracting a wider group of listeners, such as the new ‘Fridays@7’ and ‘Musically Speaking’ series.” As part of the new contract, “players will donate up to 10 services to the organization over the duration of the contract. These could include concerts or educational events for which the musicians might normally receive additional pay. … Not every dispute with the musicians has been resolved. A few topics are outstanding, including royalty revenue and working conditions related to the continued operation of the orchestra with unfilled positions.”

Posted January 22, 2010