Memphis Symphony musicians agree to one-year pay cut

Posted on: October 21, 2014

“Memphis Symphony Orchestra musicians on Monday formally agreed to accept a one-year, 38 percent pay cut in an attempt to help the financially struggling performance arts organization reduce expenses as it works toward the goal of balancing its budget,” writes John Beifuss in Tuesday’s (10/21) Commercial Appeal (Memphis; subscription required). “Approved over four days of voting, from Thursday through Sunday, the cut reduces the pay of the 36 members of the symphony’s ‘core orchestra’ from about $30,000-to-$25,000 a year to the $18,000-to-$16,000 range.… The new contract—approved with an understanding that it is a temporary measure intended to be renegotiated and perhaps rescinded next year—represents the second pay cut in five years for symphony players. In 2009, orchestra salaries were reduced by 10 percent.… Earlier this year, the union had approved a ‘memorandum of understanding’ that enabled symphony president Roland Valliere to reduce the arts organization’s annual budget from $4.8 million to $3.2 million, on the assumption that the musicians would approve the reduction in salaries—‘a pullback we hope will be temporary,’ said Valliere.… In conjunction with the reduced salaries, the symphony has reduced the musicians’ work season from 39 weeks to 24 weeks.”

Posted October 21, 2014