September 6, 2016
Tonight Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra (FWSO) musicians voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, after rejecting a concessionary offer from the management.
With this vote, a strike can be called at any time.
After 14 months of nearly continuous negotiations and 4 days with a federal mediator, the musician’s negotiating team reached a tentative agreement as a last ditch effort to reach an agreement with management. But the musicians overwhelmingly rejected management’s offer refusing to accept more cuts to their beloved orchestra.
In 2010 the musicians accepted a 13.5% cut to help face recessionary economic conditions. But today, Fort Worth is one of the most thriving and growing cities in the nation, ticket sales are on the rise and the orchestra is consistently garnering positive reviews. Reducing the budget has already caused musicians to leave the orchestra at twice the rate of the previous decade, and musicians refuse to agree to more damaging cuts. There must be a plan for growth, and the FWSO does not currently have a strategic plan beyond 2017.
“Our serious decision to provide authorization for a strike is about more than wages and benefits” said FWSO Cellist and Negotiation Committee Member Shelley Jessup, “It is about the future of the orchestra. Fort Worth is a proud destination city and should have a destination orchestra. The cuts we have seen since 2010 threaten to undo all the work that donors, musicians and citizens have done over the last 100 years to build the FWSO into the world class orchestra our city deserves.”
On Sunday the musicians called on management to resume talks immediately, and offered to meet on Labor Day. Management has not agreed to return to the bargaining table until Wednesday morning.
President, American Federation of Musicians Local 72-147