Fort Worth Symphony musicians protest pay cuts

Posted on: October 13, 2010

In Wednesday’s (10/13) Fort Worth Star Telegram (Texas), Barry Schlachter writes, “Without explanation, musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra abruptly stopped their pre-concert tuning last weekend and rose for what seemed a minute of utter silence. Many, if not most, in the audience were clueless. Had someone died? Was it a protest? Those who guessed the latter were closest to the meaning of the collective gesture. The unionized musicians have been without a contract since Aug. 1, and during a mediation session Sept. 30 their representatives rejected the orchestra’s proposal for a double-digit pay cut. … Orchestra management says it proposed cutting nine weeks from the group’s 52-week schedule, effectively cutting pay about 17.3 percent, from $60,000 base pay to less than $49,620, as well as proportionately trimming benefits. The union says it amounts to a 20 percent cut. At mediation, the musicians made a counteroffer, requesting a 2.5 percent ‘cost of living’ increase from current wage levels this year, and another 2.5 percent hike next year, said Ray Hair, the local’s president. … According to Ann Koonsman, president of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Association since 1980, overall revenue has dropped by $819,000 since August 2008.”

Posted October 13, 2010