Fort Wayne Philharmonic musicians approve new contract [The News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Ind.) :: ]
(News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne, IN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 15--Union musicians with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic approved a new contract with the orchestra Friday that preserved all musicians' jobs but will result in them taking a 17.5 percent pay cut and in concertgoers getting a shorter performance season.
The contract, which still must be approved by the Philharmonic board of directors, continues only through December, so the two sides will have to go back to the negotiating table before the end of this year, said Campbell MacDonald, the orchestra's principal clarinetist and the spokesman for the musicians' union. The previous contract expired in August.
The 17.5 percent cut in guaranteed weeks wages means the Philharmonic season will shrink from 40 to 33 weeks this year, MacDonald said. Musicians also preserved all of their current heath care benefits.
The winter season had been 36 weeks, he said. The summer season will be eliminated, though the orchestra still may play a few concerts around the major summer holidays.
The Philharmonic's original offer would have cut numerous musicians' jobs and would have drastically diminished the orchestra's artistic product, MacDonald said.
Describing this agreement as a "concessionary contract," MacDonald said, "We were able to preserve the organization and orchestra in a form that will allow us to move forward and help get the orchestra back on track financially."
MacDonald said the new contract includes the stipulation that musicians will be part of a task force or group set up to find new ways to approach donors and to raise more money for the orchestra, which has struggled financially. Philharmonic board members and administrative staff also will be part of the task force.
MacDonald also expressed gratitude to community leaders and people working behind the scenes to impress on Philharmonic leadership how important the orchestra is to the community.
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