Economic pain continues to spread; Indianapolis Symphony agrees to 12 percent pay cut
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra musicians ratified a three-year contract that calls for a 12 percent pay cut in the first year, gradual increases after that. It's the latest retreat in the face of the lingering recession. Over the summer, the Baltimore Symphony players swallowed a 12.5 percent salary reduction and other cost-saving measures.
A few months ago, the Indiana ensemble tried saving money by asking then-music director Mario Venzago to take what would have effectively been a 50 percent drop in pay. He declined and departed. A successor has yet to be named.
Here are excerpts from the Indianapolis news release:
Ratified October 4, 2009, the new agreement will result in substantial savings for the ISO and is a critical component in stabilizing the Orchestra’s financial operations. The terms of the new contract include a 12% reduction in salaries for the first year, with an increase by 2.7% for the second year and 7.8% in the third year. In addition, ISO musicians agreed to greater individual contributions toward health care benefits and a limited reduction in their pension earnings. This new contract represents approximately $4 million in savings to the ISO during the next three years.
...Along with the new agreement for ISO musicians, the Orchestra has taken steps to proactively reduce additional operating expenses in this new fiscal year (Sept. 1, 2009-Aug. 31, 2010). Effective in October, 2009, the President and CEO will take a 15% cut in salary; ISO vice presidents will take a 10% reduction in pay; and the remainder of ISO staff will take a 5% cut in salary. Approximately $2 million will be saved with these and cuts within other departmental expenses in addition to the savings from the musicians’ contract. During the previous fiscal year, the ISO eliminated a total of 13 administrative positions and trimmed its operational, marketing and development budgets to save the organization approximately $1.7 million.
Michael Borschel, chairman of the musicians’ negotiating team, said, “Given the current economic environment, the real concern for the musicians was whether or not our community is willing and able to support a truly world-class symphony orchestra. For the short term, we have pledged to do our part by agreeing to cuts in wages and pension and in shouldering additional health care costs. However, the longer term answer lies with our employer, the Indiana Symphony Society. The Society’s willingness to address our wage and pension concerns over the next three years points toward future fiscal stability and artistic growth of the Orchestra, under its yet-to-be determined Music Director...”