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Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Communications
(714) 876-2380

Pacific Symphony Musicians Ratify Contract Agreement That Was Successfully Negotiated In November 2016

Orange County, Calif. — March 09, 2017

Pacific Symphony musicians—members of the Orange County Musicians Association, Local 7, of the American Federation of Musicians (AF of M)—and Symphony management are pleased to announce that the musicians and Board of Directors have ratified a landmark contract. The agreement includes new service guarantees for musicians, which will provide for meaningful growth in performance opportunities across the span of the contract, and a more predictable income and schedule for the musicians.

The collective bargaining agreement also includes wage increases totaling 10.4 percent over five years. The agreement, effective through Aug. 31, 2021, solidifies the Symphony’s commitment to education and community engagement work throughout Orange County and the region.

“The Board of Directors, Music Director Carl St.Clair and the staff are very pleased to have achieved a five-year contract with our musicians and the union, which invests in artistic quality, while being mindful of the need to maintain fiscal responsibility,” commented Symphony Board of Directors Chair Joann Leatherby.

“It was gratifying to work with these very committed and creative artists in the spirit of problem solving,” said Symphony President John Forsyte. “Pacific Symphony has a promising future and is comprised of highly dedicated musicians. While the talks were, at times, challenging, I appreciated the thoughtful give-and-take of the musician representatives and the union. I thank Local 7 of the American Federation of Musicians and the orchestra representatives who were at the table for their dedication to the process and the excellence of the organization.”

Robert Sanders, president of the Orange County Musicians, Local 7, AF of M, commented, “This collective bargaining agreement is a sea change. The service guarantees in it are a vital benefit to musicians who now perform with Pacific Symphony. Further, this contract sends an unmistakable signal to musicians throughout the United States that Pacific Symphony is a serious and desirable workplace.”

Adam Neeley, violist and orchestra committee chairperson added: “Pacific Symphony musicians are pleased that our orchestra is taking such a significant step forward, and we’re grateful to the Symphony leadership and Board of Directors for their willingness to invest in our future. This new deal will ensure that the high level of artistic expression our audiences enjoy will not only continue, but reach new heights.”

The Symphony Board of Directors has remained committed to raising funds and growing revenue to support an orchestra that has national stature while balancing the budget of the Symphony for each of the last 27 years. The Symphony relies on the generosity of largely individual contributors for nearly 60 percent of its annual budget. Less than 1 percent of its budget is supported by government sources. The remainder of the budget comes from ticket revenue, additional contracted services and a small endowment distribution.

The Symphony is a not-for-profit, charitable organization with a budget of $20.4 million in the 2016-17 fiscal year. In order to balance the budget this season, the organization must raise $11.2 million in addition to ticket revenue. Pacific Symphony’s mission is to inspire, engage and serve Orange County through exceptional music performances and education and community engagement programming.