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The San Francisco Symphony announced that they are going on strike following failed contract negotiations with management. The orchestra’s management cancelled the performance of Gustav Mahler’s ninth symphony scheduled for Thursday at 2 p.m. after musicians failed to show up for rehearsal on Wednesday.
According to the L.A. Times, the work stoppage could threaten the three-city East Coast tour, set to begin on Wednesday, March 20, at New York City’s Carnegie Hall.
The Examiner reported that the Musical Union of San Francisco rejected proposals from the orchestra’s management for a three-year contract with no increase the first year, and 1 percent raises the following two years.
David Schoenbrun, president of the American Federation of Musicians Local 6, which represents the San Francisco Symphony musicians, states that this deal is simply unacceptable because of the other expenses which the orchestra is willing to pay. The orchestra spent $11 million during their 100th anniversary celebrations and gave executive director Brent Assink a $250,000 two-year bonus. Furthermore, music director Michael Tilson Thomas receives the highest conductor salary at around $2.41 million.
San Francisco Symphony spokesman Oliver Theil has responded by saying that production expenses have grown three times faster than their revenue.