Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra ends strike in time for New Year's show
The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Association and its musicians have ended their strike, with a new contract approved on December 3. The American Federation of Musicians, Local 72-147 representing the musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra ratified the agreement, ending the work stoppage that began on September 8.
According to a release, the musicians will see a two-year pay freeze, followed by two years of small increases. The new contract runs through July 31, 2020.
The agreement was reached after two days of federal mediation and more than a year of bargaining. It also got a last-minute push thanks to an anonymous donor who stepped forward with a gift of $700,000.
"It has been the collective goal of the management and the Board of Directors of the Fort Worth Symphony to financially stabilize the organization to secure the Orchestra’s short-term survival and long-term health," said Amy Adkins, president and CEO. “This agreement addresses this goal while enabling the Orchestra to return to its mission."
According to Adkins, the donation provides stability for the next several years while they make plans to increase revenue and expand their endowment fund.
"We are also grateful to the musicians for their shared sacrifice by accepting wage freezes as we work together to find a new path forward for this great orchestra," Adkins said.
Under the terms of the agreement, musician wages will remain at their current levels for years one and two. In year three, musicians will receive a weekly pay increase of 2 percent, followed by 2.5 percent in year four. Vacation will be reduced from 35 to 28 days to enable the Association to secure additional revenue-generating opportunities.
The anonymous contribution substantially reduces the FWSO’s annual projected shortfall for the next few seasons. The remainder of the solution relies upon increased fundraising and audience development efforts.
"All of us who serve on the Board of Directors are greatly pleased that these negotiations have reached a positive resolution so that our musicians can return to the stage," said Chairman of the Board Mercedes Bass.
The musicians' first paid week back will begin on December 26. The FWSO's first performance following the work stoppage will take place on New Year's Eve, in a concert conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya at Bass Performance Hall.
The remainder of the FWSO season remains as previously scheduled. For tickets for the New Year’s Eve concert or other future performances, patrons may visit fwsymphony.org or contact the box office at 817-665-6000.