Hours before the musicians’ contract expires tonight, the Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center have withdrawn from pay talks.
Nate West, Acting Assistant Principal Bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra said:’Our negotiating team was shocked and disturbed by management’s final offer, especially in light of our agreement to work together until a deal was done Friday night. Our musicians are among the best in the world, and management’s final offer seeks to silence our voices as we raise concerns about the direction of our ensemble, diminish our family leave benefits, and keep us dead last among our peers in compensation.
‘Ultimately, as a young musician, I have seen my peers choose not to audition for the Philadelphia Orchestra because of our uncompetitive salary and benefits—something that historically would have been considered unthinkable. The POKC’s final offer, and its refusal to continue bargaining, is unacceptable and demoralizing. As painful as it is for me to say, the POKC seems genuinely disinterested in ensuring that this ensemble continues to be one of the best in the world.’
The musicians have authorised their representatives to call a strike.