“The Grand Rapids Symphony and the Grand Rapids Federation of Musicians approved a five-year, collective bargaining agreement that raises pay and partially restores employer-funded retirement contributions for the orchestra’s 80 members,” writes Shandra Martinez in Tuesday’s (4/5) Grand Rapids Press (Michigan). The agreement “maintains the present 40-week performance season, preserves the current complement of musicians, and makes no changes to the orchestra’s health insurance. The contract ending in August 2020 introduces seniority pay to recognize musicians’ years of service, beginning with the 2016-17 season opening in September.… The new agreement outlines efforts to raise additional funds to help add full-time musicians to the ensemble, a development that violinist Diane Helle, co-chair of the negotiation committee, described as ‘extraordinary and exciting.’ … The new contract follows a four-year collective bargaining agreement signed in September 2011 that expired Aug. 31 2015. The previous contract froze musicians’ wages for the 2011-12 season but provided for pay increases of 2 percent in each of the next two seasons and a 3 percent pay raise this past season…. The new seniority pay component, which begins next season, provides for additional pay for all rehearsals and performances for musicians beginning with their sixth year of service and increasing every year afterward.”

Posted April 6, 2016

Pictured: The Grand Rapids Symphony, led by Music Director David Lockington, performs at Van Andel Arena, April 2015.