In Thursday’s (10/8) Salt Lake Tribune (Utah), David Burger reports, “Utah Symphony musicians, in what officials are calling an ‘unprecedented’ agreement, will become this year’s largest donor to the state’s largest arts organization, said Pat Richards, chair of the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera board of trustees. The union musicians, who made the proposal in the face of the nation’s continuing economic downturn, will donate $1.3 million in salary and benefits to their employer, forgoing a 5 percent salary increase that was due to them this fall, and also giving up four weeks’ salary and continuing a cut of 50 percent in matching pension contributions. Local 104 of the American Federation of Musicians also agreed to leave four positions vacant in the orchestra—one bass, one viola, one cello and one violin. The average salary and benefit cut for the musicians for this season, counting the 5 percent raise that was contractually mandated, is 19 percent, said Melia Tourangeau, president and CEO of US | UO. … ‘We see this as a donation, not a concession,’ said David Gray Porter, violinist. ‘We want to take part in investing in the future. This is way of moving ahead.’ … In return for the musicians’ donation, the US | UO board has agreed to raise an additional $1 million. If the board fails to match the donation, US | UO will have to pay the musicians what they were owed under the original contract, Porter said.”

Posted October 8, 2009