Sarasota Orchestra and Musicians Union Begin Bargaining
On Wednesday, November 11, the Sarasota Orchestra completed the first of three days of scheduled bargaining with the musicians and their union. The parties completed the first day without reaching agreement on the length of a successor contract, said Orchestra President and CEO Joseph McKenna. The Sarasota Orchestra opened the bargaining session by proposing a one-year contract with two bonus weeks.
The musicians’ union and its chief negotiator, Leonard Leibowitz, rejected the one-year term and proposed instead a three-year agreement. The union’s proposal would increase musician wages, pension payments and employer contributions to health insurance and add new salaried musician positions during the term of the proposed three-year agreement. But the orchestra is wary of a longer commitment.
“The position of the Board of the Sarasota Orchestra is that the economy remains too uncertain to make multi-year commitments with guaranteed economics,” said McKenna.
The next bargaining sessions are scheduled for November 18 and 23.
McKenna highlighted that the orchestra would expedite bargaining for language items to ensure that a November 30th deadline could be accommodated. The deadline is necessary to allow time to plan for the Benefit Concert and the Sarasota Music Festival.