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Seattle Symphony and Seattle Symphony & Opera Players' Organization Announce One-Year Contract Extension

Seattle Symphony and Seattle Symphony & Opera Players' Organization Announce One-Year Contract Extension

The agreement includes several new provisions such as musician wage increases and expanded parental leave benefits.

Seattle Symphony President & CEO Krishna Thiagarajan and Seattle Symphony & Opera Players' Organization Chair and Seattle Symphony Associate Principal Flute Jeffrey Barker have announced a one-year contract extension. The agreement includes several new provisions such as musician wage increases, expanded parental leave benefits, updates to audition procedures that support a more equitable process, and expanded streaming capacity on Seattle Symphony Live, the Symphony's streaming service.

"This agreement is an excellent result for the orchestra as it allows us to continue serving our communities with great music and inspiring performers whilst also rebuilding after the disruption of the pandemic," said Krishna Thiagarajan, President & CEO of the Seattle Symphony. "Our ability to keep our musicians on staff during the pandemic was the key reason we were able to start performances in September of 2020 to serve a community in need of music and culture during this difficult time. With this agreement we wanted to recognize the sacrifices musicians made during that time and address the need for modern benefits and living wages for creatives in Seattle. With continued community support the Seattle Symphony is poised for great musicianship, greater equity and financial stability in the amazing seasons to come!"

"The agreement we've reached represents a big step forward for the Seattle Symphony. We're especially proud of our new parental leave benefit, as well as the updates to our audition procedures, which are one small part of the ongoing work we must do to ensure the Seattle Symphony reflects all the communities we serve," said Jeffrey Barker, Seattle Symphony & Opera Players' Organization Chair and Seattle Symphony Associate Principal Flute. "At the same time, the expanded capability to stream our concerts online shows the shared commitment between musicians and administration to continue innovating and reaching our audiences in new ways."

The previous contract extension expires on August 31, 2022, and the new, one-year extension will be in effect September 1, 2022, through August 31, 2023. Seattle Symphony musicians are employed for 47 weeks each year by the Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera, and under the terms of the new contract, they will receive a 4% salary increase for a weekly base salary of $2,428.40.

Among the new terms of the extended contract is an updated parental leave benefit that offers up to 12 weeks of full pay for parents of a newborn, newly adopted child or a child placed for foster care. The agreement also includes adjustments to the sick leave policy for pregnancy-related disabilities, providing a mutually beneficial use of Washington State's Paid Family & Medical Leave benefit and sick leave.

As part of the Seattle Symphony's investment in greater on-stage representation for ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab or Native American) and LGBTQ+ musicians and our partnership with the National Alliance for Audition Support (NAAS), the Seattle Symphony adopted new audition and recruitment procedures to support greater representation of musicians historically excluded from the industry.

The contract also includes new provisions for Seattle Symphony Live streaming capacity with an extended-on demand viewing period for original content. Additionally, the Electronic Media Guarantee, which provides musicians with an additional guaranteed compensation for media work performed during the concert season, will increase by 2.6% of base wages over the current contracted amount, yielding a new total of 3% of base wage.

The Seattle Symphony would like to thank the Musicians' negotiating committee for their collaboration and partnership throughout the contract extension process. The committee includes orchestra members: Chair Jeffrey Barker (Associate Principal Flute), Natasha Bazhanov (violin), John DiCesare (Principal Tuba), Zartouhi Dombourian-Eby (flute/piccolo), Timothy Hale (viola) and Alexander White (Associate Principal Trumpet). Symphony Vice President & General Manager Jennifer Adair led the bargaining efforts on behalf of the employer along with Vice President & Chief Financial Officer Cheronne Wong.

SEATTLE SYMPHONY & OPERA PLAYERS' ORGANIZATION (SSOPO)

The Seattle Symphony & Opera Players' Organization (SSOPO) is the labor organization representing the musicians who perform for the Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera. The bargaining unit is comprised exclusively of the members of the Seattle Symphony, including the music librarian. The self-governing organization is a chapter of the International Guild of Symphony, Theater, Opera and Ballet Musicians (IGSTOBM). The IGSTOBM was formed in Seattle as an independent union in 1985. The Guild won its first National Labor Relations Board-supervised elections in 1988, becoming the union representing the musician employees of the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet.

SEATTLE SYMPHONY LIVE

Seattle Symphony Live brings the Seattle Symphony's dynamic performances to audiences anywhere in the world. Launched in 2020 to offer musical comfort despite the pandemic, the digital streaming service reached a global audience of more than 750,000 viewers with its live concerts, behind the scenes interviews, educational videos and more. With subscriptions starting at $12.99 per month, Seattle Symphony Live makes engaging with the orchestra's exceptional musical content more possible than ever before.

SEATTLE SYMPHONY

The Seattle Symphony unleashes the power of music, brings people together and lifts the human spirit. Recognized as one of the "most vital American orchestras" (NPR), the Seattle Symphony is internationally acclaimed for its inventive programming, community-minded initiatives and superb recordings on the Seattle Symphony Media label. With a strong commitment to new music and a legacy of over 150 recordings, the orchestra has garnered five Grammy Awards, 27 Grammy nominations, two Emmy Awards and was named Gramophone's 2018 Orchestra of the Year. The Symphony performs in Benaroya Hall in the heart of downtown Seattle from September through July, reaching over 750,000 people annually through live performances and radio broadcasts, and through the Seattle Symphony Live streaming service, the orchestra's concerts reach audiences at home and around the world.

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