Past contract deadline, Montreal Symphony and musicians may use mediator

Posted on: June 13, 2011

In Saturday’s (6/11) Montreal Gazette (Canada), Arthur Kaptainis writes about the Montreal Symphony Orchestra’s efforts to reach a contract agreement with the musicians of the orchestra. “It is contract time. Or post-contract time, given that the last agreement between the MSO and its unionized members expired on Aug. 30, 2010. The musicians rejected the first offer back in November. Progress since then has been glacial. Last week, management released a facts-and-figures sheet to the media and asked the province to appoint a mediator. Musicians want the mediator, too…. The salary divide looks wide, but not insurmountable. Management has offered a 3.5-per-cent increase of the $72,128 minimum salary over two years (2010-2011 and 2011-2012) and two percent in Year 3. The Musicians’ Association is asking for 9.64 per cent over two years (8.5 per cent for salary and one per cent for the pension fund). [MSO musicians’ association head Serge] Desgagnés says that working conditions are largely settled…. MSO officials stress the still-recovering economy and the precarious circumstances of such venerable U.S. orchestras as Philadelphia (reorganizing its finances under Chapter 11) and Detroit (where a 23-week stoppage resulted in a substantial pay cut to musicians). MSO players emphasize the excellence of the orchestra and their heavy schedule.”

Posted June 13, 2011