Philadelphia Orchestra and musicians agree to 3-year labor deal with 15.8% salary increase

By Associated Press |

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The Philadelphia Orchestra in concert (Photo: Photo: Jessica Griffin)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra Association have ratified a collective bargaining agreement calling for minimum salaries to increase by 15.8% over three years.

The deal announced Saturday night with Local 77 of the American Federation of Musicians covers September 11 this year through September 13, 2026. Increases in the agreement include 6% in the first year, 4.5% in the second and 4.5% in the third. The agreement replaces a four-year contract that expired September 10.

“Following the unprecedented disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, our joint challenge was to find a new and financially responsible path forward,” Ralph W. Muller and Michael D. Zisman, co-chairs of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center Inc., said in a statement.

The union said the deal requires management to increase the number of musicians hired each year and to ensure the contractual level of 105 musicians and two librarians is met. Substitute and extra musicians will earn 100% of what full-time musicians earn by the third year of service and ensure payment if their engagements are canceled with less than two weeks’ notice.

The deal eliminates a lower rate of overtime for playing movies and calls for two days of rest after most Sunday concerts.

“This contract is a victory for the present and future for the Philadelphia Orchestra,” David Fay, a double bass who has who played with the orchestra since 1984 and chairs the musicians’ members committee, said in a statement. “We appreciate the leadership of our musical director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, whose deep respect for us as musicians was evident in his support for a fair contract.”

Base salary in 2022-23 was $152,256, including electronic media agreement wages. Each musician received a supplemental payment of $750 or $1,500 in each year of the contract, the union said.

Nézet-Séguin, the music director since 2012-13, wore a blue T-shirt supporting the union during an open rehearsal at Saratoga on August 11.

The orchestra filed for bankruptcy in 2011 and emerged a year later. Musicians struck on September 30, 2016, causing cancellation of that season’s opening night, then announced an agreement two days later.