Atlanta Symphony Orchestra management and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players Association failed to reach an agreement on terms of a new contract before the previous one expired on September 6th, a development that may delay or cancel portions of the 2014-15 season – its 70th – which is currently scheduled to open on Sept. 25th.
“We are all extremely disappointed that we do not have a new contract,” ASO President Stanley E. Romanstein acknowledged, adding that “we believe we must develop a new model that will allow us to balance our artistic and financial needs.” The ASO has operated in the red for the past 12 years.
In a statement issued at atlantasymphonymusicians.com, Paul Murphy, president of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players Association, said, “The musicians emphasized in their proposal that they wish to avoid a labor dispute and propose to continue negotiating while working under the concessionary 2012-14 contract. The musicians have received no response; it appears that the Woodruff Arts Center has locked out the Musicians of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for the second time in as many years.”
The most recent proposal by ASO management offered a 4.5 % increase in musician salaries over the course of a four-year contract, as well as a share of any budget surpluses, but called for musicians to shoulder more health care costs. The two parties have been negotiating for eight months, without agreement.
ASO photo by Jeff Roffman.