Tuesday, February 03, 2015

New Contract Signed by San Francisco Symphony and Musicians

Davies Symphony Hall, no picket lines this year!

Good news and congratulations all around: the Board and Musicians agreed to a new contract this week. The old contract, signed about two years after after the inexplicable three-week strike, would have expired in a week. It took about three months to reach the agreement, given that the negotiations began in early November.

I'd be especially curious about how the health insurance issues were resolved. 

Here's the press release in full:


SAN FRANCISCO, February 2, 2015 – The San Francisco Symphony (SFS) announced today that the Board of Governors and Musicians of the Orchestra have approved and ratified a new three-year, ten-month collective bargaining agreement. The new agreement runs through November 24, 2018 and was reached one week prior to the expiration of the existing contract. 

The new agreement provides for a new weekly base minimum salary of $2,892 increasing to $3,200 in the final year of the contract. In addition to changes in pension, seniority, media payments, leave provisions, and parking contributions, the agreement also includes a plan to address the rising costs of health care with a collaborative approach to reduce and manage organizational health expenses.

“I commend all those who worked so very hard to strengthen our ability to be an artistically vibrant and financially stable community partner for many years to come,” said Sakurako Fisher, SFS President. “This agreement reflects the Musicians’ incredible artistry and recognizes their contributions to shaping and enriching the fabric of our community.  It is also a path forward in full alignment with our long term financial forecasts adopted by the Board of Governors. It allows the San Francisco Symphony to pursue its most vital mission, to make music of the highest level and reach a broad and diverse audience, and do so from a position of strength.”

"The Musicians of the San Francisco Symphony celebrate the ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement, which secures our place among the top orchestras of the world,” said David Gaudry, Chair of the Musicians’ Negotiating Committee. “We would like to express our appreciation to the Board and Administration for their willingness to take the necessary steps to support our musicians to continue to live and thrive as artists in this beautiful but very expensive city. We would especially like to acknowledge the respectful and collaborative tone of our bargaining sessions as well as the efforts from both parties to create an agreement that keeps us at the cutting edge of our industry. We look forward to many more years of uninterrupted music-making and continued striving toward excellence.”

“This new agreement clearly represents a shared long-term vision for the Orchestra among all of our key constituents,” said Brent Assink, Executive Director. “Since we began negotiating November 3, our process focused on engagement, open dialogue, and a shared approach to problem solving. I want to express my sincere thanks to Dave Gaudry, the musicians on the Committee, and their counsel, for their constructive and focused efforts. I also want to thank the Human Resources Committee of the SFS Board of Governors and our staff negotiating team. A great cooperative spirit was evident throughout our talks, setting us on a positive course as we address the future.  Above all, we look forward to serving the community with great music and even more opportunities for learning and engagement in the years ahead.”

The Orchestra’s negotiating committee was chaired by violist David Gaudry and included percussionist Tom Hemphill, violist David Kim, horn player Bruce Roberts, and violist Matthew Young.  Also participating was David Schoenbrun, President of Musicians’ Union Local No. 6 of the American Federation of Musicians. Susan Martin of Martin and Bonnett acted as counsel to the musicians.  Negotiating for the SFS administration were Executive Director Brent Assink, General Manager John Kieser, Human Resources Director Ann Allison-Marsh, Chief Financial Officer James Kirk, Orchestra Personnel Manager Rebecca Blum, Executive Assistant to the General Manager Jeanette Wong, and attorney Curt Kirschner of Jones Day. 

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