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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Orchestra, board hope to talk soon

Both sides in the Spokane Symphony Orchestra’s first-ever strike say they hope to meet again this week to resolve a dispute that’s already canceled one performance.

The musicians and symphony board met last week and failed to resolve a contract dispute that involves two issues: the number of performances and services members will play, and a leave policy so players have the option of booking other paying jobs.

The strike canceled Saturday’s SuperPops concert. Two other performances this week could be affected.

Adam Wallstein, the chair of the orchestra committee, said no date has been set to resume contract talks. Musicians are asking for a new three-year contract that cuts the base salary of the orchestra’s “core” players by about 5 percent.

Management says the weak economy is affecting ticket sales, forcing the organization to seek a 13.3 percent cut in salaries paid to players. It’s seeking a two-year contract.

Wallstein said the 13.3 percent cut would most severely affect the 36 players that play at all symphony performances or outreach events; 30 other area musicians are also called in when larger ensembles are needed. Both groups are covered by the same master agreement.

Those 36 core players currently earn roughly $17,460 per season.

Peter Moye, chair of the symphony board, said its proposal is to reduce the guaranteed services – rehearsals and performances – from 180 to 156 per season. “The board is not going to run deficit budgets” and that requires reduced commitments for the number of paid services, Moye said.