Saturday, June 21, 2003

Orchestra, musicians strike accord

By Bruce Schreiner
The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - Louisville Orchestra musicians agreed Friday to temporary concessions on wages and the length of the performance season to help the ailing orchestra balance its budget.

Negotiators reached agreement on the three-year deal at 3 a.m. Friday after discussions with a federal mediator that started Thursday morning.

Orchestra board President Manning G. Warren said he was "delighted" with the agreement. The board will meet today to vote on the deal, which runs through Aug. 31, 2006.

The agreement will help the orchestra achieve a balanced budget in each of the next two years, Warren said.

The orchestra had been on the verge of filing for bankruptcy protection. Warren said the mediation was a "last-ditch effort" to avoid a bankruptcy filing.

The agreement calls for a weekly wage freeze for musicians in the first year and a three-week reduction in the current 42-week performance season, said Warren and Timothy Zavadil, a clarinetist and the musicians' spokesman. Musicians gave up a 4 percent pay raise for next season.

By the end of the third year, musicians' weekly base pay will be $900, up from the current $800, Zavadil said.

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