Detroit Symphony contract talks end without a deal

Posted on: March 19, 2010

In Thursday’s (3/18) Detroit Free Press, Mark Stryker reports, “Talks to renegotiate the Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians contract have ended without a deal, a surprise since a spokesperson for the musicians earlier said that they were ‘expecting and hoping’ to be part of the solution to the DSO’s budget crisis. ‘The DSO management team and orchestra are not currently engaged in discussion on the current contract, which runs through August 2010,’ the parties said in a statement. ‘Although discussion that began last year were amicable, both parties were not able to mutually agree on methods to modify the current contract.’… DSO management, some funders and creditors see players’ concessions as a key to stabilizing the orchestra’s finances. Battered by the recession, the DSO ran a $3.8-million deficit in 2009 and projects about a $5-million shortfall on a $30-million budget in 2010. … Minimum player salaries rise to $104,650 this season, though most players make more. The increases keep the DSO in or near the country’s top 10 in pay. Player salaries and benefits make up the largest part of the DSO budget, about 50%. … To cut costs, the DSO laid off 30% of its staff in 2009 and instituted staff pay cuts. Music director Leonard Slatkin, who last month signed a two-year contract extension, is also taking a voluntary pay cut.”

Posted March 19, 2010