Boston Symphony Orchestra Sign New Labor Agreement

By Francisco Salazar

The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s musicians and Board of Trustees have ratified a new three-year labor agreement to take effect on August 28

According to a press release the new contract restores traditional annual wage growth going forward and includes a “catch-up” increase for the musicians following a three-year pandemic pause in their wages under the existing contract approved in 2020.

The new contract will also offer artistic management greater flexibility in scheduling concerts in both Boston and the Berkshires.

In a statement Barbara Hostetter, BSO Board Chair; Todd Seeber, Chair of the BSO Players Committee; and Pat Hollenbeck, President of the Boston Musicians Association said, “We are very pleased to have forged this new agreement in a spirit of genuine cooperation and goodwill and are collectively excited to open a new chapter in the BSO’s long and storied history with a new three-year labor contract. The contract’s terms recognize the financial sacrifices the orchestra made during the pandemic and their extraordinary contributions to making the BSO one of the world’s most preeminent orchestras and teaching organizations. The agreement also responds to the need for greater flexibility in scheduling Boston Symphony and Boston Pops concerts to meet the evolving audience demand for live music performances in the post-pandemic world. Performing orchestral music in-person remains at the center of the BSO’s mission, and this agreement will ensure that we can continue to do that at the highest level for years to come. We are especially proud to have reached a mutually satisfying agreement three weeks before the current contract was set to expire through a deeply collaborative process that strengthened our positive working relationship. We all agree that both the process and the outcome are ‘wins’ for the organization and audiences alike, and we look forward to continuing to work together collegially to ensure the long-term success and sustainability of the Boston Symphony.”

Back in 2020, the orchestra signed a contract that had musicians agree to cut their salaries in response to the major financial losses due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. According to the agreement, reduced compensation  averaged 37 percent in the first year of the contract, which would be followed by increases in compensation as the BSO redevelops a sustainable revenue scheme.