The musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra voted overwhelmingly to reject their management’s second “final offer” on Sept. 30, 2023.
The vote saw 91 percent vote against the deal, which offered less in compensation than the first “final offer” that the Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center, Inc. (“POKC”) presented to the musicians.
The terms of compensation have become the primary point of the recent negotiations, as the Orchestra’s management has failed to present an offer that would adjust the musicians’ salaries to account for historic inflation.
Additionally, retirement benefits have also been at the forefront of these negotiations.
According to a press statement, “before 2011, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s musicians were enrolled in a Defined Benefit Plan, ensuring that they could retire with dignity. In 2011, the Philadelphia Orchestra declared bankruptcy and successfully decimated its pension plan—all while sitting on a $140 million endowment, and no debt. Today, the Philadelphia Orchestra offers significantly less generous retirement benefits than any of its peer world-class orchestras. The ‘final offer’ that Philadelphia’s musicians vehemently rejected on Saturday night did absolutely nothing to improve musicians’ retirement security. It also failed to provide adequate support and protections for the Orchestra’s library and librarians.”
The union noted that it will request that a federal mediator to reconvene negotiations. The musicians opened the season on Sept. 28 without a contract and have already authorized their negotiating committee to call a strike.