The management of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra has issued the following statement in an attempt to rebut the causes given by their players for authorising an all-out strike. The only element missing from the statement is any reference to the half-billion dollar construction program planned by the SFSO, while cutting its players’ health benefits.
March 7, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY NEGOTIATIONS FACTS:
CURRENT STATE OF NEGOTIATIONS
The current extended collective bargaining agreement for the orchestra musicians of the San Francisco Symphony expired on February 15, 2013. Negotiating sessions with the union representing the musicians began in September of last year and are currently ongoing. We will continue negotiations with our musicians and their union on March 12, as overseen by a federal mediator, and are hopeful that a new agreement can be reached soon. At this time, all public concerts and events will take place as scheduled.
“Our musicians are the center of our organization and are among the most talented in the world. We are working with the union representing the musicians and a federal mediator to develop a fair agreement that recognizes the musicians’ stature as one of the top orchestras in the country, but one that does not compromise the future artistic quality or financial stability of the institution,” said Brent Assink, Executive Director of the SF Symphony.
CURRENT MUSICIAN COMPENSATION
The average musician compensation is currently over $165,000 annually. In addition, musicians receive 10 weeks paid vacation, paid sick leave, a full coverage health care plan with no monthly contribution for individuals, and a maximum annual pension payment of $74,000 upon retirement. In the past four years, SFS musicians have received salary increases of 17.3% (4.3% average increase per year).
LATEST PROPOSAL TO THE MUSICIANS
Our most recent proposal keeps these benefit levels in tact in addition to multi-year salary increases that keep them among the top three highest paid orchestras in the country.
TRANSPARENCY OF FINANCIAL INFORMATION
As a non-profit organization, the Symphony provides transparency about its finances in fully audited and publicly available documents in accordance with the law. The administration has responded to all of the union’s specific requests for information in a timely manner, throughout the negotiations. All official requests, pending one which is still in discussion with the union, have been responded to as of March 6, 2013.
DAVIES SYMPHONY HALL RENOVATION EXPLORATION
The SFS Board of Governors has, for a long time, been thinking about what might be needed to prepare the orchestra for its second century, including identifying and growing new artistic programs and sources of revenue. At this time, the organization has engaged in exploratory and planning discussions regarding future programming, existing facilities, and potential expanded facilities for its home, which opened in 1980.
Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and Executive Director Brent Assink are among the most talented and respected in their field, as are the musicians of our orchestra. The Board of Governors of the San Francisco Symphony awarded Executive Director Brent Assink a one-time longevity bonus, paid in 2011 and 2012.