In response to the lingering effects of the global economic crisis which began with the collapse of the market in the third quarter of 2008, Nashville Symphony musicians recently approved a proposal from the Symphony Association which continues to hold their wages frozen at 2008/09 levels through the end of the 2009/10 season. This mid-contract change to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement which was set to expire in July, 2012, between the Symphony Association and American Federation of Musicians Local 257, also extends the term of the musicians' contract by one year, while delaying each subsequent wage hike called for in the agreement by one year. The compounded effect of this decision by the musicians will ultimately translate into more than $1 million in savings to the organization. This generous action on the part of the orchestra musicians mirrors similar concessions already made by the Symphony's administrative staff and conductors.
"This is a powerful demonstration of the remarkable solidarity within this organization," said James C. Gooch, Chairman of the Nashville Symphony's Board of Directors. "Such generosity from our musicians, matched by the sacrifices of the administration, reveals that we are a unified front as we continue to take the necessary steps to ensure long-term stability for the Symphony in the wake of the recent flood damage and the economic recession that began in late 2008."
Alan D. Valentine, President and CEO of the Nashville Symphony, said, "We really are blessed with the very finest people throughout the Symphony organization, and I am immensely proud of each and every one of our musicians and staff members. This extraordinary action is yet another important and meaningful example of our employees' commitment to be good stewards of the resources the community has entrusted to us."
Second violinist, Laura Ross, who also serves as the orchestra's union steward, said, "The musicians agreed in May, 2009, to freeze their wages and pension contributions for 6-months, and to meet during that period to evaluate the continuing financial concerns of the institution. In March of this year, the musicians agreed to continue the wage freeze and extend the contract for an additional year to 2013, saving the Association more than $1 million. These actions represent a significant sacrifice that will be felt by the musicians; however, the musicians understood the concerns of the Association, and agreed to help in a significant and meaningful manner."
Dave Pomeroy, President of Local 257 of the American Federation of Musicians, said, "The renegotiation process was an arduous one, but in the end the musicians voted with solidarity to extend their existing contract and make a huge financial contribution to the future of the Nashville Symphony."