Wednesday (10/12) on the Philadelphia Inquirer blog Arts Watch, Peter Dobrin reports, “Musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra are expected Thursday to give their yea or nay on a deeply concessionary four-year contract. The deal, mediated under the supervision of Stephen Raslavich, chief judge of U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, knocks salaries down several rungs, reduces the size of the ensemble and moves musicians from a defined benefit to a defined contribution retirement plan. The American Federation of Musicians and Employers’ Pension Fund, the $1.7 billion national plan that would be jilted by the new labor deal, has pledged to fight for up to $35 million it says it will be owed if the Philadelphia Orchestra Association carries out its stated intention to withdraw from the fund. Any new labor deal would have to be approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Court as part of the Association’s exit from its chapter 11 case. … The deal, the terms of which were obtained by The Inquirer, comes into effect as of Nov. 1: A minimum annual salary of $106,000, rising to $111,800 in 2012-13; $117,000 in 2013-14; and with 2014-15 stepped up from $119,600 to $124,800. That last amount is the current base minimum. A hiring freeze will cut the official size of the ensemble from the current 105 instrumentalists and two librarians to 95 instrumentalists and two librarians, with the reduction achieved through retirements and attrition. … Neither management nor the chairman of the players’ committee Wednesday would comment on the new contract.”

Posted October 13, 2011