New York Philharmonic Musicians Agree to Four Years of Wage Cuts

The New York Philharmonic, silenced from performances at Lincoln Center since March by the coronavirus pandemic, has agreed to a four-year labor contract with its musicians through Sept. 20, 2024, that retains wage cuts throughout the entire deal. The orchestra said Monday (Dec. 7) that both sides had ratified the agreement, which calls for players to earn 75% of minimum scale through Aug. 31, 2023, which comes to $2,214 weekly.

Compensation increases to 80% of scale through the first six months of the following fiscal year, which comes to $2,362 weekly, and 90% for the following six months, $2,657. The deal includes increasing percentages of overscale payments, bonuses if the philharmonic exceeds financial projections and a provision allowing up to 10 Sunday performances per season, concerts that previously had been prohibited. The philharmonic also obtained full media rights to its performances.Colin Williams, an associated principal trombone who chairs the orchestra’s negotiating committee, said in a statement that the orchestra gave up more than $20 million in wages as part of the deal.

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The Philharmonic said the pandemic caused operating losses of more than $10 million in the fiscal year ending Aug. 31 and projected it will lose $21 million in ticket revenue during its canceled 2020-21 season. The philharmonic had laid off 40% of its administrative staff and cut remaining salaries by up to 30%.

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