The 9/20/08 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published an article by Andrew Druckenbrod which examines a recently ratified three year long collective bargaining agreement (CBA) at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO). Although the agreement’s minutia is not yet available, the article touches on the most prominent issues such as contract length and base pay…With regard to those issues, the new PSO contract is something akin to ordering vanilla at Baskin-Robbins; three years in length and a three percent increase each year. However, given the past few PSO contracts (and subsequent re-openers) having a CBA that promotes an image of stability is actually quite exotic.
Ideally, the contract will provide the organization with a firm foundation to launch a successful start to their new music director’s tenure. Druckenbrod’s article touches on some of those issues, which due to the organization’s short-lived artistic trifecta model had to be worked out during negotiations.
One interesting observation is that during a time when most of the biggest budget ensembles seem to be making strides toward increases in base compensation that exceed three percent (details), the orchestras right below that compensation tier are not matching pace at the same rate (details). It will be interesting to see if this has any impact on each respective orchestra’s ability to maintain the sort of artistic activity that distinguishes one group from another and whether any ensembles in the third compensation tier move into Pittsburgh’s neighborhood.