September 11, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OREGON SYMPHONY ASSOCIATION AND LOCAL 99 OF THE
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF MUSICIANS ANNOUNCES
THE RESULTS OF CONCESSIONARY BARGAINING
(PORTLAND, Ore.) – Elaine Calder, President, Oregon Symphony Association and Bruce Fife, President, Local 99 of the American Federation of Musicians, today announced the results of concessionary bargaining which took place this summer between the Association and its orchestra musicians.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement between the parties which was to expire in June 2010 has been extended until June 2011. Key concessions are as follows: for this season and next, the contract has been shortened from 41 to 38 weeks. The Association’s contribution to the musicians’ pension fund has been reduced from 8.5% to 4%, and the players have also agreed to a change to less expensive health insurance providers.
Ms Calder estimates that the savings to the Association of these financial concessions will reach $1.4 million over the two year course of the agreement. She said, “Like everyone else, we’ve been badly hurt by the recession and suffered significant losses in our endowment. We are doing what we can to restructure operations, but we couldn’t ensure our survival through the 2009/10 season without concessions from the musicians, conductors and staff. These have been given in a spirit of mutual support and co-operation, for the good of the organization as a whole. I’ve never had to negotiate concessions before and I hope I never do again, but the process was made easier by the shared desire to find an acceptable, immediate solution to the Oregon Symphony’s financial challenges.
“Longer term, of course, the solution cannot rest on the shoulders of the musicians. In the coming weeks, we will be challenging our audiences to match what the musicians have done, by providing new or increased gifts to our annual fund. In the meantime we have concerts to prepare and an exciting new season to launch.”
Speaking on behalf of the Oregon Symphony’s 76 musicians, Mr. Fife said “Though this recession has touched many, few are hit as quickly and severely as musicians and the arts. It’s easy to forget the vital role Symphony musicians play as long standing members of the community. Their role goes well beyond their inspiring performances on a near weekly basis. They teach our children and youth, both at home and in the schools, and are often at the center of fundraising for any number of organizations and causes. It’s with that spirit that we negotiated this contribution to the Association. We support Ms Calder’s drive and vision as we collectively work to stabilize the financial footing of this artistically vital and engaging Orchestra.”
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