Arts & Culture

Fort Worth Symphony musicians stage sit-in at orchestra offices

Fort Worth Symphony musicians staged a sit-in at symphony offices near Bass Hall on Thursday after management canceled upcoming contract negotiation meetings, they said.

Symphony management and union representatives met earlier this month and had agreed to additional meetings over the next two weeks. However, the meetings were canceled without being rescheduled, said the American Federation of Musicians Local 72-147, which represents the 80 musicians.

“This recklessness, lack of good faith, and dereliction of duty on management’s part cannot be tolerated,” the union said in a statement.

The parties last met March 9.

Symphony President Amy Adkins said management simply postponed the meetings and planned to send almost a dozen possible new meeting dates to the union by Friday.

“We are having some very serious internal discussions, and we were not ready to meet,” Adkins said. “We have every intention of returning to the bargaining table at our earliest opportunity.

“We have been bargaining in good faith and will continue to do so.”

Management and the union have been negotiating since June and have been far apart on musicians’ salaries. In January, management had proposed an 8 percent pay cut, largely through the reduction of paid time off, and the union had authorized a strike as talks stalled.

After several tense weeks, the parties reached an agreement to keep the musicians’ contract terms the same through July 31 while negotiations continued.

The symphony has posted annual operating deficits for several years and the two sides have been far apart on wages and benefits during these contract talks.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk