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Fort Wayne Philharmonic, union musicians preparing to vote on proposed new contract

Saturday, November 23, 2013 - 6:10 am

The Fort Wayne Philharmonic and its union musicians announced Friday they have reached a tentative agreement on a new labor contract.

The Philharmonic and members of Fort Wayne Musicians Association, American Federation of Musicians Local 58, in Fort Wayne, agreed not to discuss terms of the proposed contract until the orchestra board of directors and musicians have voted on it, the announcement said.

The two sides actually reached the agreement late Thursday afternoon, the announcement said.

The Philharmonic board's first opportunity to vote on the proposed contract will be during its Dec. 3 meeting, said J.L. Nave III, orchestra president and CEO. Musicians will vote on the contract within the next two weeks, the announcement said.

Both sides will continue operating under the terms of the previous four-year contract, which expired Aug. 16, until a new contract is finalized, the announcement said.

During some of the previous negotiations, musicians said they offered to take a 12 percent pay cut temporarily and to help the orchestra with fundraising to get it back on a solid financial foundation.

As of early last month, the Philharmonic had an accumulated financial deficit of $2.3 million.

The orchestra had sought about a 20 percent cut in musicians' pay and for musicians to pay more than $3,000 a year for family health benefits.