Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Offers Pay Cuts For Musicians and Staff

on Aug 17, 2012 06:58 PM EDT

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) musicians have offered to cut their compensation by 11 percent to cover the orchestra's projected shortfalls for the next two seasons.

Musicians and management staff from the orchestra met Wednesday in hopes of reaching an agreement on potential pay cuts for the organization. According to a current proposal offered by The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players' Association (ASOPA), the musicians of the 93-member orchestra want the orchestra's senior leadership and management staff to take an equal pay cut.

"We have offered to reduce the size of the orchestra, reduce the individual compensation of musicians, reduce the number of work weeks and share health care costs with management," ASOPA President and cellist Daniel Laufer said in a statement.

"Our comprehensive solution calls for the staff to share the reduction with us in the coming seasons to help stabilize the future of this great orchestra," Laufer added.

The orchestra's debt has been accumulated each year, growing from $1.1 million in 2004 to a projected $19.8 million next year. If the senior leadership accepts the proposed pay cuts, the orchestra would save around $5 million over the next two seasons.

"As of today we have put close to $3 million of musician cost reductions on the table, which address every aspect of what we do: salary, orchestra size, number of paid weeks, and cost sharing of health insurance," said Colin Williams, principal trombonist. "But we cannot be the only solution."

The next bargaining session is yet to be set.

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