Contract negotiations continue for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

A premier group of musicians in North Texas could be trading instruments for picket signs.

The members of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra are weighing their options for a possible strike.  

The symphony says its latest offer would've seen principal players making more than $70,000 in the fourth year of the contract. The union that represents the musicians says that does not reflect the average salary and want the symphony to get in tune with Fort Worth's thriving economy.

Bass Hall in downtown Fort Worth could soon fall silent if the symphony and its musicians fail to work out a heated contract dispute, where the sticking point is money.

On Sunday, the symphony released a statement after the musicians rejected its latest offer saying:

"We are extremely disappointed by the musicians' rejection of the tentative agreement reached with the Musicians' Union this past Wednesday.  This result was unexpected, and the Association is reviewing its options."

Musicians Association President Stewart Williams says the offer reflected a slight increase that would materialize four years from now and would not even be enough to make up a sacrifice pay cut the musicians accepted in 2010.

"That means in 2020, they're behind where they would've been 10 years earlier,” Williams said. “And this orchestra has done nothing but garnered fabulous reviews and brought attention to itself as one of the true treasures in the United States."

A looming strike authorization vote means the marquis, regarding Friday's opening performance, could be in jeopardy.

“The Fort Worth Symphony should represent Fort Worth. It comes down to that,” said Williams. “It should represent the movement and the vibrancy and the pride that this city has -- its slogan: cowboys and culture.”

The musicians will take a strike authorization vote Tuesday night. If it wins approval, a strike becomes an option.

Negotiations resume Wednesday morning to try and hash out a deal.

 

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