Fort Worth Symphony musicians agreed to a contract extension late Friday night that ensures the music will go on through the summer.
The extension, which lasts until July 31, keeps the contract terms the same as the contract that expired last year. The musicians, who are represented by the American Federation of Musicians Local 72-147, ratified the extension in a vote on Friday.
“Although this agreement does not address the Fort Worth Symphony’s projected shortfall for the current fiscal year, it has the advantage of buying the parties additional time to reach agreement under less pressure by delaying the possibility of a strike or other work stoppage,” said symphony president Amy Adkins in a statement.
With the agreement, the symphony said management and the union will resume contract talks to discuss a new contract on a “mutually agreed-upon date in the near future.”
The two parties have been in negotiations since last June and have been far apart on how much musicians should be paid. Symphony management had proposed an 8 percent pay cut, largely through the reduction of paid time off. The symphony has posted annual operating deficits for several years and management says pay cuts are necessary to help keep the orchestra solvent.
The orchestra recently canceled its planned six-city tour of Spain, and the symphony projects a deficit of $650,000 for the current season.
The union, however, says management does not have a growth plan for the orchestra and proposed a one-year pay freeze and then raises in subsequent years. Even with the one-year contract extension, the union said it will continue to fight for growth at the symphony.
“Our agreement is a victory not only for this orchestra, but for our audiences, downtown, and greater Fort Worth,” the musicians’ union said in a statement.
Tensions rose last week when musicians voted to authorize a strike and rejected what management says was its final offer. Management then threatened to implement the cuts on Monday, but then did not enforce the concessionary terms.