Seattle Symphony, Opera musicians approve contract

May 14, 2013

Labor disputes have shut down performances across the country, but Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera fans don’t have to worry about cancelations anytime soon. The musicians have agreed to a new contract. 

Contract talks, which lasted more than a year, grew tense last fall when the musicians voted to authorize a strike.

Tim Hale, a violist and chair of the Seattle Symphony and Opera Players Organization, says the musicians resisted taking deep pay cuts that management wanted.

The symphony is still trying to recover from the recession, but things have started to look up. The symphony recently said it has balanced its budget for the year that ended in August 2012.

Hale says the musicians agreed to some concessions, but the contract is better than what management offered last year.

"This is a difficult time for not-for-profits in general, and performing arts not-for-profits in particular," Hale said. "We feel we were able to reach a successful conclusion that met everyone’s needs."

The Minnesota Orchestra recently canceled the rest of their season after locking out the musicians last fall. The San Francisco Symphony walked out for a couple of weeks earlier this spring.