Detroit, Omaha, San Antonio, and now Pacific Symphony (am I missing anyone?) are all standing on the precipice of a work stoppage…
Releasing the news via their website, the musicians of the Pacific Symphony have voted to authorize a strike for the first time in the organization’s history. The Orange County Register published an article on 8/22/2007 by Richard Chang who reported the musicians’ decision as well as some additional details.
At the heart of the issue appears to be what the musicians categorize as,
“In spite of tremendous growth, increased fundraising, and critical acclaim for high-level performances, Symphony management proposes to keep musician wages well below comparable orchestras, and is unwilling to address changes in working conditions.”
It is worth noting that the “tremendous growth” referred to in the musicians’ statement includes moving into the new $240 million Segerstrom Concert Hall (although it is worth noting that the Performing Arts Center has filed a lawsuit against the architect, construction firm). As such, it is difficult to miss the similarities with another orchestra that just completed its inaugural year in a new concert hall, the Nashville Symphony.
That organization just completed negotiations with their musicians which resulted in a five year collective bargaining agreement (CBA). By the end of Nashville’s new CBA their musicians will experience a 42 percent increase in base wages along with an additional week of paid vacation and an increase in pension. It will be interesting to see if either musicians or management in the Pacific Symphony reference Nashville’s improvements during the upcoming weeks.