In Wednesday’s (1/27) Seattle Times, Janet I. Tu reports, “The Seattle Symphony’s musicians and management reached a tentative agreement on a new contract Wednesday, ending months of tense negotiations and averting a strike. The 23-month, three-season contract ‘which could be extended for an additional eight months’ would immediately cut musicians’ pay by 5 percent until the end of this season, with the current pay scale resuming in 2011. Musicians also would pay a greater share of their health coverage. In addition, each of the 84 members of the musicians union will contribute $2,010 ‘for a total of $168,840’ to the Symphony’s Annual Fund.” Tu notes that musicians “had objected to management’s original five-year contract proposal calling for a 10 percent pay cut. Their current minimum base pay is $78,750, most of it paid for by Seattle Symphony with the remainder paid by Seattle Opera. … ‘We are hopeful that this tentative agreement will further the advancement of the symphony in a crucial time,’ said Tim Hale, violist and chairman of the musicians union. Board Chairwoman Leslie Jackson Chihuly acknowledged the negotiations have been challenging but said, ‘We look forward to working together on many extraordinary artistic initiatives.’ ” 

Posted January 28, 2010

Photo of Seattle Symphony by Laurence E. Tucker