Musicians and management of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) announced in early March that they had reached agreement on a three-year contract extension through the 2020-2021 season. Reflecting a renewed sense of collaboration and trust between the two sides, the negotiation process was conducted quietly and the agreement was reached six months ahead of schedule. ASO musicians, members of Local 148-462, endured lockouts in 2012 and 2014, as well as a drastic pay cut in 2012.
The contract extension will include increases to compensation totaling approximately 3% annually over the three-year period. In addition, the agreement includes changes to the orchestra’s work rules. The agreement was made possible due to the strong financial performance of the institution over the past four years, along with the generosity of an anonymous donor who stepped forward with support for compensation increases.
During the term of the extension, the orchestra’s complement remains unchanged. In the most recent contract, management agreed to raise $25 million for a musicians’ endowment fund to restore and fund 11 positions in the orchestra. ASO exceeded the $25 million goal and completed the campaign two years ahead of schedule. Auditions are in process to fill the final positions and raise the complement to 88 full-time musicians.
“The Musicians of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra are pleased that respectful and productive negotiations resulted in this new contract,” says Atlanta Symphony Players’ Association Chair and ASO Cellist Daniel Laufer of Local 148-462. “This agreement is another important step forward in solidifying the financial foundation necessary to support the artistry of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. We would like to thank Jennifer Barlament [ASO executive director] and her senior leadership team, as well as Howard Palefsky, ASO board Chair, for making a positive difference during these negotiations. We are also very appreciative of the anonymous donor who so strongly believes in ASO musicians and understands the importance of continuing to restore the compensation package.”