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RPO musicians invest in orchestra's future: contract extension enables solid financial planning

October 26, 2015

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For Immediate Release: October 26, 2015
Media Contacts:  (RPO) Sally Cohen, 585-749-1795, sally@sallycohenpr.com; (AFM) David Angus, 585-330-2432, dangus.afm66@frontiernet.net
RPO Inforpo.org, facebook.com/RochesterPhilharmonic, twitter.com/RochesterPhil, rochesterphilharmonic.blogspot.com, instagram.com/rochesterphilharmonic



Contract extension enables solid financial planning

Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) and the Local 66 of the American Federation of Musicians announce that its musicians and board have ratified a two-year extension to the current four-year agreement, now in its final year. By providing an exact knowledge of musicians’ costs over the next three years, the agreement allows the RPO to create a workable financial plan in order to achieve a balanced budget and financial stability.


“Once again, the musicians have shown a willingness to invest in the future of this world-class orchestra by agreeing to extend the previous year’s concessions,” says Interim President and CEO Ralph P. Craviso, who began his appointment on October 1 and was not involved in the negotiations.  “We have a responsibility to repay that good faith by creating a stable and financially sustainable future, and this agreement enables us to do that.”


The agreement includes a salary freeze for musicians in the 2015/16 season, marking the fifth season in a row with weekly salary levels at the same rate.  It provides for a 2.6% increase in the weekly rate next season and remains flat in 2017/18. Contracted weeks, which have been at 37 since the 2013/14 season, will remain unchanged in 2015/16 and increase to 38 in 2016/17 and 38.5 (or possibly 39) in 2017/18. RPO administrative and staff salaries have also remained constant during the same period of time.


Federal Mediator Scott Montani of Syracuse participated in the last three negotiating sessions and facilitated the settlement after union and management agreed to his participation.


“By agreeing to a continuation of concessions, the musicians are investing in the long-term future of this organization and hope that this new agreement can mark the first steps toward financial stability for the RPO," states William Amsel, RPO clarinetist and chair of the Musicians’ Committee.


The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has been committed to enriching and inspiring our community through the art of music since its founding in 1922. The RPO presents approximately 160 concerts and broadcasts a year, serving up to 170,000 people through ticketed events, education and community engagement activities, and concerts in schools and community centers throughout the region. Recently appointed 12th Music Director Ward Stare joins the ranks of former notable RPO music directors, including Eugene Goossens, José Iturbi, Erich Leinsdorf, David Zinman and Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman. Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik has earned a national reputation for excellence in pops programming during his 21-year tenure with the RPO. With Michael Butterman as Principal Conductor for Education and Community Engagement (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) – the first endowed position of its kind in the country – the RPO reaches more than 12,000 children through its specific programs for school-aged children.



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