Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra musicians rejected a final three-year contract offer from orchestra management Friday that included pay cuts.
The vote, which occurred before the orchestra’s Night at the Oscars concert at Bass Hall, demonstrated the musicians’ resolve in their contract talks to bargain for pay increases. The musicians, represented by the American Federation of Musicians Local 72-147, have authorized a strike but have not called one.
“We demand that management return to the table and continue bargaining,” union Secretary-Treasurer Stewart Williams said. “They have no reason not to.”
With the rejection, management said it plans to implement concessionary contract terms Monday that include more than 8 percent in wage cuts, accomplished primarily by reducing vacation days.
The two sides have been in negotiations since June and are $4 million apart on the value of a new contract. Orchestra management is projecting a $650,000 deficit for this season and says without pay cuts, the orchestra could close within two years.
In response to a slowing Spanish economy, the orchestra recently canceled a six-city tour of Spain that was scheduled in May. It has also ended the past four seasons with deficits, symphony management said.