Richmond Symphony Musicians Continue To Perform – For Immediate Release

September 22, 2012

Musicians of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra are performing the season opening concert this Saturday, September 22, 2012 despite the fact that the musicians’ contract expired August 31, 2012. The Agreement between Richmond Musicians Association, Local 123 of the American Federation of Musicians and the Richmond Symphony Inc. has been under negotiation since January of this year.

During the last bargaining session on September 7, 2012, RSO Inc. issued the musicians’ representatives a “final offer”. According to musician spokesperson Molly Sharp “As soon as we receive a complete document we will send it to the rank and file for a vote”. Local 123 President George Tuckwiller says “The final offer is not a tentative agreement and demands regressive wages and conditions. Local 123 will not recommend acceptance of the offer to the musicians.”

Sharp adds, “We believe that the issues are not just the reduction of musicians’ wages and working conditions but major downsizing of one of Richmond’s premier cultural assets. Richmond not only deserves a first class symphony, it has committed to the development of the cultural district. We don’t believe that the city of Richmond and multiple investors spent millions of dollars in restoration and redevelopment in Richmond’s cultural district only to end up with a symphony that is not respected in the industry as a major player.



Tuckwiller adds, “The RSO’s “final offer” reduces a section musicians annual wage from $32,785 to $28,886 including a two week reduction in season length and slashes nearly every benefit the musicians receive. The musicians simply can’t afford this offer. The annual wage would enable a married musician with two children to be eligible for SNAP. We are not interested in handouts. We want to be able to afford our own food and put it on the table for our family.”

“Musicians are performing tonight because we believe that Richmond deserves a great orchestra. We believe that staying on stage and performing without a job action and for our patrons will give incentive to our supporters in the community to insist on preserving and growing the best orchestra Richmond can afford. It is incumbent to the future of the RSO that the Richmond community and all arts supporters stand up and convey their feelings and support for the continuation of the Richmond Symphony”, says Tuckwiller.

 

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Contact: Molly Sharp, mollysharpvla@gmail.com