A $5 million gift from the Wyncote Foundation will allow The Philadelphia Orchestra to increase and expand programming for the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ, the world’s largest mechanical action concert hall pipe organ. The five-year initiative, “The Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ Experience,” will feature the organ more extensively in programming and build new repertoire for the instrument. The musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra are members of Local 77 (Philadelphia, PA).
Early November 7, Philadelphia’s transit system resolved a labor dispute with its union ending a major strike that threatened to carry into Election Day. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) and the Transport Workers Union agreed on a new contract after a week-long shutdown. The looming election brought pressure to bear on both parties to hash out their differences.
Transport Workers Union 234 announced they had reached a tentative five-year deal with SEPTA that would still need to be ratified by employees. Pension plan, health care costs, and scheduling were the crux of the disagreement.
The workers’ contract expired at the end of October. Union members voted against extending any deadlines in order to force SEPTA to agree to a contract before people needed to get to the polls. When the strike began, SEPTA sought a court injunction to force workers back onto the job ahead of the election. That injunction was not granted. The agency would have made its argument again in court had it not reached a deal.