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San Francisco Symphony musicians ratify new three-year contract

From the San Francisco Symphony

February 3, 2006, 3:15 p.m.

Musicians of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) voted today to ratify a new three-year contract between the SFS and Musicians Union of San Francisco, Local No. 6 of the American Federation of Musicians. The agreement runs through November 29, 2008 and sets a course for the future of the San Francisco Symphony, giving the organization enhanced ability to pursue two paramount goals: achieving consistent artistic superiority, and reaching a broad and diverse audience.

"The talented musicians of the San Francisco Symphony are the heart and soul of our organization," said John Goldman, SFS President. "This contract recognizes our stature as one of the top orchestras in the country while setting a prudent financial course for our organization. I commend all those who worked so hard in these negotiations for their commitment to the future of the San Francisco Symphony."

"The dynamic partnership between the musicians, MTT and our loyal audience has resulted in great artistic achievements over the last several years," said David Gaudry, head of the players' negotiation committee. "This contract recognizes those achievements and will propel this orchestra forward to even greater heights on the American orchestral scene."

In the newly ratified agreement, minimum weekly salary compensation increases from $2000 per week to $2060 per week in the first year, $2200 in the second year, and $2300 for the third year. The increase in compensation places the SFS among the highest paid orchestras in the U.S., reflecting its position among the country's premier orchestras and the commitment to artistic excellence. The musicians also received competitive increases in pension and seniority pay. Future cost savings were achieved through adjustments to the orchestra's health plan.

Other contract highlights include many that increase the orchestra's ability to compete-not only for the best available talent, but also for an audience facing an ever-wider variety of entertainment choices and information sources. Among these highlights are changes in radio, auditioning, and scheduling policy. The SFS's prominent position as a national radio-content provider is enhanced by the agreement to offer simultaneous streaming of radio signal throughout the world. An additional pension fund concert will benefit the orchestra's retirement plan. Touring clauses have been reconfigured to position the SFS for international residencies and at the same time will recognize and provide for the rigors of touring. Audition processes have been streamlined to attract high-caliber candidates and will create a more collaborative process with SFS musicians. Increased scheduling flexibility will allow the SFS to create new types of programming to expand audiences.

The Orchestra's negotiating committee was chaired by David Gaudry and included Steven Braunstein, Melissa Kleinbart, Sarn Oliver, and Nanci Severance. Also participating was David Schoenbrun, President of Musicians' Union Local No. 6 of the American Federation of Musicians. Susan Martin of Martin and Bonnett acted as counsel to the musicians. Negotiating for the SFS administration were Executive Director Brent Assink, Director of Operations and Electronic Media John Kieser, Human Resources Director Jim Robinson, Orchestra Personnel Manager Rebecca Blum, and attorney James Paras. Federal mediator Joel Schaffer was also instrumental in enabling both parties to craft a new agreement.




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