The musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra voted on Saturday evening to authorize a possible strike as negotiations over a brand new labor contract stalled, elevating the potential of a tense standoff simply weeks earlier than the beginning of a brand new season.
Of those that took half within the vote, 95 % determined to authorize the strike. In a information launch, members of the orchestra stated that the vote was essential as a result of they felt the ensemble’s managers have been ignoring their calls for for higher compensation, retirement advantages and dealing circumstances.
“The musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra have declared that sufficient is sufficient,” Ellen Coach, president of Native 77, the union that represents the musicians, stated in a press release. “Administration has proven that musicians are a value to be contained, reasonably than a very powerful asset.”
The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Kimmel Middle Inc., which as a joint entity oversee the orchestra, expressed disappointment over the musicians’ strike authorization.
“We are going to proceed to barter in good religion in the direction of a fiscally accountable settlement that ensures the musicians’ financial and inventive future,” Ashley Berke, a spokeswoman for the group, stated in a press release.
The dispute has grow to be extra heated in latest weeks because the musicians have grown extra outspoken. They’ve requested for extra beneficiant depart insurance policies, in addition to higher pay, for themselves and for freelance musicians. And so they have known as on the orchestra to fill 15 vacant positions.
Earlier this month, the musicians wore blue union T-shirts throughout an open rehearsal on the orchestra’s summer time residency in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. In an uncommon show of solidarity with the musicians throughout labor talks, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the orchestra’s music director since 2012 and a member of its administration, wore one of many shirts as effectively.
The Philadelphia Orchestra was hit onerous by the pandemic, which pressured the ensemble to cancel greater than 200 concert events and lose about $26 million in ticket gross sales and efficiency charges. In 2021, the orchestra introduced that it will merge with its landlord, the Kimmel Middle for the Performing Arts, as a part of an effort to streamline operations and set up new sources of income.
Audiences have been gradual to return since stay performances resumed within the fall of 2021, although there have been indicators of hope in latest months. Attendance final season was about 64 % of capability, in contrast with about 75 % earlier than the pandemic.
The orchestra has gone via different painful intervals in latest a long time. It declared chapter in 2011 after the monetary disaster, however has since balanced its price range and labored to rebuild. Regardless of expense cuts and chapter, that has not been straightforward: In 2016, its musicians held a transient strike that started on the evening of the orchestra’s season-opening gala.
The approaching season is ready to start on Sept. 28 with a live performance led by Nézet-Séguin, and that includes the star cellist Yo-Yo Ma.