Sarasota Orchestra And Musicians Achieve Multi-year Contract
The Sarasota Orchestra and its musicians, represented by American Federation of Musicians Florida Gulf Coast, Local 427-721, have reached agreement on a successor collective bargaining agreement. The four-year agreement, which has been ratified by the musicians of the Sarasota Orchestra Players Association, will cover this current season through the 2022-2023 season.
A highlight of the new agreement is salary increases in each year for the full-time musicians who perform the 36-week concert season. To help offset the rising cost of living in the greater Sarasota area, the Union and Sarasota Orchestra shared a mutual goal of achieving a base minimum salary for the core orchestra of $40,000 over the course of the agreement. The agreement also includes wage increases for Full Orchestra Musicians (part-time). Also agreed to were: improvements in musician travel pay, an improved sick leave bank to assist part-time musicians and 403-b retirement plan enhancements that make Sarasota Orchestra more competitive in the orchestral market across Florida. A dependent care provision of the health insurance benefit has also been added, and employees will continue to receive the same employer contribution toward life and disability insurance coverage.
Tom Ryan, Board Chair said, "The Board of Directors of the Sarasota Orchestra is very pleased to have a four year agreement with our accomplished musicians, who are the centerpiece of our organization. This contract will help us grow artistically while maintaining a secure financial foundation. Hiring a dynamic music director to work with our musicians and advancing our goal to create a new music center for the Orchestra and our region remain the Board's top priorities. Our Board is committed to these goals, and we are confident this new agreement will move us to increased excellence."
The Orchestra season remains at 36 weeks, during which performances are presented at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Friedman Symphony Center, Sarasota Opera House, Neel Performing Arts Center, Northport Performing Arts Center and Ed Smith Stadium.
John Miller, the chair of the musicians' negotiating team said, "This agreement, which includes meaningful gains in a number of areas-including compensation, sick leave, travel and various work rules-provides a framework for the Orchestra to thrive and flourish. We believe the process of bargaining has strengthened relationships among the musicians, management and Board, and we look forward to building on that foundation over the next four years. The musicians are dedicated to bringing outstanding, inspiring performances to the people of Sarasota and beyond. We deeply appreciate the continued support and partnership of our devoted patrons and benefactors."
The Sarasota Orchestra is currently in its 71st season and provides more than 135 performances in the Sarasota-Manatee region annually. The organization also offers a distinguished education program featuring eight levels of youth orchestra, a two-week summer camp for local students and the world renowned Sarasota Music Festival for emerging young artists ages 18-25.