The Fort Worth Symphony’s seasoning opening weekend has been cancelled, due to the strike by the orchestra’s musicians. The musicians picketed in front of Bass Hall this afternoon. The symphony is reaching out to ticketholders for this weekend’s performances of Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” to inform them of their options.
KERA’s Bill Zeeble is in Fort Worth and we will update this post. Here’s the release from the FWSOA.
FORT WORTH, TX – September 8, 2016 – The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Association (FWSOA) has cancelled this weekend’s performances due to a strike called today by its musicians.
“We regret having to cancel these concerts because of the musicians’ decision to strike,” said Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Association President and CEO Amy Adkins. “Frankly we are baffled by their decision since the union’s own bargaining team agreed to a tentative contract last week during labor negotiations overseen by an independent federal mediator.”
The FWSOA has bargained in good faith for more than 15 months and conceded to more than 30 contract changes that the Union requested. Yesterday, the Union suddenly and dramatically changed its bargaining position, demanding increases that the FWSOA cannot afford.
The FWSOA submitted its final offer to the Union yesterday, which is identical to the terms of the tentative agreement reached last week. It calls for a four-year contract that incorporates a reduction in the number of paid weeks from 46 to 43 in the first two years of the contract, increasing to 44 paid weeks in years three and four. The terms would result in an approximate 6.5% reduction in annual pay in the first year with subsequent wage increases in years two, three and four. By the fourth year, musicians would earn approximately 3.5% more than their current wage, and principal players would be paid more than $70,000.
“The FWSO did not want a strike but we have an obligation to operate the orchestra in a sound financial manner and cannot let the Union force us into poor financial decisions,” said Adkins. “This strike benefits no one, and we feel badly for our patrons and ticketholders who have loyally sponsored the Orchestra with their financial support and attendance.”
The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Association will notify ticket holders immediately regarding options for handling unused tickets. Patrons are encouraged to hold onto their tickets and wait for notification before calling the ticket office.