Detroit Symphony musicians contract talks hit impasse

Posted on: July 30, 2010

In Thursday’s (7/29) Detroit News, Lawrence B. Johnson writes, “The musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, whose contract expires Aug. 31, said Thursday that management has ceased to negotiate in good faith and that talks have reached an impasse. The Musicians’ spokesman, Haden McKay, a cellist, said management has not budged from its original demand for a 28-percent cut in the players’ annual base pay of $105,000. That reduction would bring the starting salary to about $75,600, with scheduled increases to $79,950 by the third year. McKay said management had rejected a counter offer that would provide a 22-percent wage cut to about $82,000 in the first year with increases in the second a third year bringing the minimum up to $96,000. … The musicians contend that a sharp cut in salaries, coupled with a proposed freeze on pension contributions and reduced health benefits, would turn top young talent away from the DSO and cause some current members to seek positions elsewhere. McKay said management also insists on a reduction in the contracted complement of musicians from the current level of 96 full-time players to 84. In actuality, the DSO has only 85 full-time musicians on its current roster. The remaining 11 positions, created by departures or retirements, have gone unfilled.”

Photo: The Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Leonard Slatkin acknowledge applause at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.

Posted July 30, 2010