San Francisco Symphony musicians petition local
businesses for support
By Brent Begin, Bay City News
January 25, 2006
San Francisco Symphony musicians took their contract
dispute to the streets yesterday by visiting businesses around
Davies Symphony Hall.
In restaurants and shops during a busy lunch hour,
employees and patrons both expressed support for the musicians.
"I know you guys because you're always coming
in," said David Hardy, a maitre d' at Hayes Street Grill.
"You know I support you."
Many diners, including the musicians themselves,
frequent the Hayes Valley corridor before heading to the symphony
hall or the adjacent War Memorial Opera House.
"I think the symphony has had a huge impact
on this area," violinist Melissa Kleinbart said. "People
are coming down, more and more earlier, and spending money in
On Monday, the musicians held a "press concert"
to protest management's refusal to raise salaries, seniority pay
and pensions to the level of competing symphonies from around
The musicians threatened to forego a Far East tour
scheduled for early February unless they can work with management
to draft a new contract.
Negotiators have also solicited support from Mayor
Gavin Newsom's office, hoping a combination of business and political
backing will expedite the contract process.
"We want to protect the artistic integrity
of this orchestra and its future, so that when that people know
there's an opening, they won't hesitate to bring their families
here because of the high living expenses," said bassoonist
The symphony musicians have been without a contract
since Nov. 26, 2005.
Management released an official statement on Monday
in which Brent Assink, the symphony's executive director, wrote,
"We are doing our best to find a solution that gives our
talented musicians a contract deserving of our stature as one
of the top orchestras in the country and also sets a prudent financial
course for the future of the orchestra.''
Symphony officials could not be reached for comment
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