Jacksonville Symphony musicians agree to contract

Published: Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 5:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 5:56 p.m.

JACKSONVILLE — Jacksonville Symphony management and musicians have agreed to a new contract after months of tension.

The symphony's chairman-elect told the audience gathered for a Friday night piano concerto that a two-year contract approved by the board also had been approved by the musicians' bargaining unit.

"This is a very, very satisfying compromise. We are delighted to have this behind us, to turn around the symphony, which is in very, very bad shape," chairman-elect Martin F. Conner III told The Florida Times-Union (http://bit.ly/Zmrnr0 ).

No additional details about the contract agreement were immediately available.

The two sides had declared an impasse in September in contract negotiations. The musicians decided not to strike and continued working for reduced salaries while pursuing an unfair labor practices charge with the National Labor Relations Board. That case is pending before an administrative law judge.

In the fall, symphony officials said years of operating deficits and roughly $3 million in debt prompted them to offer the musicians a one-year contract that would have shortened the season and reduced annual base salaries by almost 20 percent to about $32,000.

Musicians rejected that offer. Symphony officials said the one-year contract offer was made to give the symphony more time to eliminate its debt and begin operating at a profit.

The symphony's previous season marked the end of a five-year musicians' contract, which was reached in January 2008 after a lockout of more than two months.

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