Fort Wayne Philharmonic Agrees to Pay Majority of Musician Health Care Premiums During Furlough
Health Care Ensured Through the End of the Calendar Year
Fort Wayne, IN (August 5, 2020) — The Fort Wayne Philharmonic announced today that it will pay 99% of musician healthcare premiums during the period of the upcoming furlough, from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. This is the maximum allowed by the healthcare policy provider. The other 1% will be paid by each individual musician.
“We are delighted to be back at the table with our valued musicians working to ensure their health care during this unprecedented time,” said Philharmonic Board Chair Chuck Surack. “I know I speak for the rest of the Board of Directors when I say how pleased I am that we were able to find a way to agree on this accommodation, which ensures the welfare of our treasured orchestra members throughout these uncertain times.”
Three weeks ago, the Board of Directors voted to suspend all concerts through most of Jan. 2021, and to furlough musicians and lay off 5 full and part-time staff members, effective Sept. 1.
This announcement came as a response to the global pandemic and the operational disruptions reverberating throughout the country. Since mid-March the Philharmonic had been forced to cancel or reschedule dozens of concerts and events, including most summer concerts. The Philharmonic Board of Directors made the decision at that time to continue to pay its full time and per service musicians through the end of the Season, then extended pay through the Summer Season.
The Philharmonic management and musicians are currently meeting to negotiate the terms of a short-term agreement for the furlough period that would utilize partnerships, collaborations, and other creative initiatives to reach the broadest possible audiences with the artistry of the orchestra during the pandemic. Streamlined programming and other measures are being considered as the orchestra works to serve the short term needs of its patron base.