Seattle Symphony Musicians Approve "Strike Authorization"

The Seattle Symphony and Opera Players’ Organization (SSOPO) today announced that it voted and approved a “strike authorization” after months of contract negotiations with the Symphony and Opera managements. The musicians’ group will meet again tomorrow to consider further action.

The SSOPO and both Symphony and Opera managements have been in contract discussions since summer in hopes of gaining a sound collective bargaining agreement that reverses concessionary trends. The most recent offer, presented by the managements on October 10th, called for a 15 percent reduction in overall compensation for the 2012-2013 season.

“The Seattle Symphony is one of the highest earned income-producing orchestras in the country and is forecasted to again have a balanced budget in the 2012-13 season,” said cellist David Sabee. “We are proud of the contribution our past concessions have made toward balancing the budget, and see no reason that continued pay cuts should be necessary.”

This proposed pay reduction is on top of years of financial concessions made by the musicians. Since 2005, the SSOPO musicians have given back more than $9.6 million to the Symphony, not including savings earned through significant increases in the musicians’ share of healthcare costs.

“The musicians have always been invested in the success of the Symphony and Opera, lending a hand in times of financial difficulty,” added Sabee. “We are entering a new era at the Seattle Symphony and need to develop a compensation package reflective of this new period in order to uphold the artistic integrity of the Symphony and attract and retain the highest quality musicians.”