Musicians will vote on Friday whether to accept the symphony’s final contract offer – which cuts their pay by 8 and a half percent. Musicians have already voted to authorize a strike. So if they reject the package, they could walk out at any time.
That means they could be on strike during the symphony’s big fundraising Gala on February 6th, featuring violin virtuoso Joshua Bell.
Scott Jessup is a symphony violist and contract negotiator:
“All dates on the calendar are potential dates of leverage for us. It might be the gala, it might be something after the gala, it might be before the gala. Obviously if they’re moving back to the table and beginning to bargain again, things change, you know?”
Things seem unlikely to change. That’s because symphony management says the musicians’ pay requests are unreasonable. Players want some previous pay cuts restored. Management says that would eventually force the symphony out of business.
The gala is the symphony’s most important fundraiser – it brings in more than 800 thousand dollars – and half of the funds raised go to support musician salaries.