The strike by musicians of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra last night forced the cancellation of its East Coast tour, with incalculable and lasting damage to the company and its brand.
Many in Europe remember in bemusement the late-1990s tour when musicians of the SFSO picketed their own concert in different halls as part of an ongoing wage dispute. The orchestra acquired a reputation for washing its laundry in the least appropriate public places. It has just done so again. The stain will take years to erase.
Here’s the Carnegie release:
Date: March 17, 2013 | Contact: Matt Carlson | Tel: 212-903-9751 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgMARCH 20 & 21 CARNEGIE HALL CONCERTS BY THE
SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY ARE CANCELLED
(NEW YORK – March 17, 2013) Carnegie Hall today announced that concerts by the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas, originally scheduled for Wednesday, March 20 and Thursday, March 21 in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, have been cancelled due to the orchestra’s current work stoppage. These concerts will not be rescheduled.Patrons who purchased tickets for these performances with a credit card will receive automatic refunds. Those who purchased tickets with cash can return them to the Carnegie Hall Box Office to receive their refund. Ticketholders with any questions should contact CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800.
And here’s the company statement:
SAN FRANCISCO, March 17, 2013 – The Musicians of the San Francisco Symphony have rejected a federal mediator’s proposal to resume playing concerts during a “cooling off” period while negotiations over the collective bargaining agreement continue. The Symphony’s administration was willing to abide by the federal mediator’s recommendation, based on developments over the past three days of talks.
As a result of the musicians’ continuing work stoppage, the orchestra’s three-city East Coast tour on March 20-23 will not go forward. The tour was set to include performances at Carnegie Hall March 20 and 21, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark on March 22, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on March 23. The ongoing five-day musicians’ strike has already forced cancellations of four concerts in San Francisco.
Over the past three days of lengthy negotiations, overseen by a federal mediator, the musicians’ union rejected the latest administration proposals and continued their strike.
Several proposals by the administration have been rejected by the musicians’ union. The most recent proposal offered increases in musician compensation to achieve a new annual minimum salary of $145,979 with annual increases of 1% and 2% for the latest two-year proposal. Contractual benefits also included a $74,000 maximum annual pension, 10 weeks paid vacation, and full coverage health care plan options with no monthly premium contributions for musicians and their families for three of the four options. Additional compensation for most active musicians also includes radio payments, over-scale, and seniority pay which raises the current average pay for SFS musicians to over $165,000.
“We are deeply disappointed that the musicians have continued to reject proposals for a new agreement and that the musicians will not proceed with our planned East Coast tour,” said Brent Assink, Executive Director of the San Francisco Symphony. “We have negotiated in good faith since September, have shared volumes of financial information, and have offered many different proposals that we had hoped would lead to a new agreement by this time. We will continue to work hard to resolve this situation.”