Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, musicians reach contract agreement
Concerts resume this weekend
Last Updated: 219 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS - The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is practicing once again after reaching an agreement with the musicians union after weeks of contract negotiations.
A short-term agreement, which will run through February, will allow the orchestra to resume its season this weekend with concerts under the direction of Krzysztof Urbański.
A five-year contract, which will run through September 2017, includes a 32 percent pay cut for musicians in the first year.
The musicians have agreed to work eight weeks fewer than in previous seasons in the first two seasons of the new contract, but over the five years, there will be a 38- to 42-week performance schedule that keeps the ISO's classical, pops, family, holiday and summer concert series.
"This agreement wouldn't have been possible without significant sacrifices by our musicians, and we sincerely appreciate their willingness to find a common ground at this crucial point in the ISO's history," said John Thornburgh, ISO board chairman.
"The last month has been a challenging and trying time for our musicians, and the support we have received has been both uplifting and sustaining," said Rick Graef, chairman of the ISO musicians negotiating committee. "The musicians are doing our part to save this great orchestra we all love."
The new contract excludes the controversial clause that would have allowed symphony management to end the deal at the end of the third year. Management wanted that protection in case fundraising fell short of expectations, but players said it would lock in their losses without allowing them to regain much of that money.
"It was very, very important," Graef said. "I think that was our primary stumbling block over the previous three weeks, and I think after long and trying discussions, that point was finally seen that we really could not sign a contract with that in it."
The contract is structured as two different contracts -- a short-term three-and-a-half-month contract followed by a long-term, five-year agreement.
If the symphony's management is successful in raising $5 million in additional donations, the long-term contract will automatically go into effect. But if that doesn't happen, it won't.
"The short-term, in essence, allows us the chance to raise the additional funding that we feel is still needed in order to secure the five-year agreement as it currently stands," said symphony spokeswoman Jessica DiSanto.
Though the new deal reduces the length of the season, it doesn't cut the size of the orchestra. In fact, there are plans to add two members.
"The musicians are very happy to be able to be back on the stage," Graef said. "This has been a long, trying lock-out for the musicians, one that we're not happy to be in. But we're happy to get the resolution that we are (getting). This contract does contain severe concessions."
"These two agreements really solve the issues that we've been bargaining for the last several weeks and brings our great orchestra back to the Hilbert Circle Theatre," DiSanto added. "We're very pleased at today's outcome."
Those who have tickets from previously canceled performances can exchange into this weekend's performances or another of their choice.
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