May 18, 2021
Contract Deadline for Philharmonic Musicians Looms
Summer Concerts at Risk if Agreement Not Reached by May 21
The Fort Wayne Philharmonic announced today that it will need to start canceling its summer concerts in the region if an agreement with union musicians is not reached by the end of the day on Friday, May 21.
The Philharmonic has continued talks with the musicians’ union, the goal being an all-inclusive contract agreement that provides musicians 7 weeks of guaranteed paid work this summer (when in summers’ past there have been no guaranteed paid weeks) and 28 weeks of work during the 2021-22 Season beginning in September. The offer maintains 100% of musicians’ current weekly salaries for all current core (44 musicians) and per-service musicians (19). It reflects the Philharmonic’s agreement to a request by the union that there be no reduction in number of musicians. The offer also provides furlough off-set payments for each musician and continued healthcare at 99% employer-paid coverage through August 31, thereafter, remaining at the historically agreed to 70% rate.
Fort Wayne Philharmonic’s Board Chairman Chuck Surack said: “We must have agreement by the deadline to move forward with required planning for events, including venue rental and guest artist availability. This is not an agreement package that can come in piecemeal.” Surack went on to say, “It’s in the hands of the orchestra committee and its union members to decide now if they want to return to performing for their community and region this year. We are anxious for Philharmonic music to return as we emerge and recover from effects of the pandemic.”
Although the musicians have agreed to terms for summer work, they have not yet agreed to the 2021-22 Season. As the Philharmonic’s comprehensive offer includes summer work and a 28-week season, an agreement for only summer work without the 28-week Season would jeopardize the prospects of a full season since fall-winter season venue dates now reserved must be confirmed. The Philharmonic remains committed to seeing this negotiation process through and will continue to bargain in good faith so that it can once again provide music to all the communities of Northeast Indiana.