NewsOct 18, 08:55 PM
October 17, 2012
Last weekend, the musicians of the Spokane Symphony overwhelmingly rejected a ‘last-best-and-final’ contract offer from the Spokane Symphony Society. The offer included a reduction in wages from $17,460 to $15,132, with further reductions applied to those who cannot be available for symphony work in the summer. Moreover, the attendance policy would be tightened, making it even more difficult for musicians to supplement their employment by performing elsewhere. Finally, concessions regarding work rules made in exchange for higher salaries would remain in place, despite the rollback of salaries to levels equivalent to those of 2002.
The Spokane Symphony finished last season with a budget surplus. This season’s budget reflects increases of 15%, 11% and 6%for administration expenses, guest artists and conductors respectively; while compensation for the core orchestra members would fall by over 13%. The orchestra’s timpanist and committee chairperson Adam Wallstein commented, “Following 3 consecutive annual pay freezes, this offer would be devastating to the musicians personally as well as to the symphony as an institution. We are currently experiencing difficulty attracting professional musicians to Spokane and this proposal would dramatically exacerbate the problem. Cobbling together a livelihood around a base salary of $17.5K is barely doable; having that cut to $15.1K would be ruinous. Many of our leading musicians would be forced to leave the region to seek employment elsewhere, while others would be left unable to remain dedicated to our craft. Unfortunately, even though we love what we do, we still have to provide for our families while paying off the debts which made it possible to obtain the high quality education and instruments which are necessary for the job.”
It is imperative that we maintain the high artistic quality of the orchestra which Spokane area residents havecome to expect and deserve. Musician representatives remain willing to engage in productive talks with the Society.
Contact: Adam Wallstein
Phone: (509) 535-7552
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