top of page

RSO and Management have failed to reach an agreement.

The Richmond Symphony musicians have agreed to continue to work while parties continue to work towards an agreement.  In addition to conflict over substantial reductions in salary and benefits, disagreement centers around two central ideas:


The Richmond Symphony musicians have been portrayed as "unyielding" as the RSO struggles with financial difficulties. Below are a few examples of some of the concessions and sacrifices the musicians have made in recent years to help the RSO.

Last seven years agreed pay raises expressed in percentages
  Bargained              Actual  
• 2004 - 0%                 0 %
• 2005 - 0%                 0%
• 2006 - 2%                 2%
• 2007 - 2%                 2%
• 2008 - 4%                 4%
• 2009 - 5%                 0%
• 2010 - 5%                 2.5%
• 2011                         2.5%           

  • In 2009, management came to the musicians and claimed financial hardship. The musicians agreed to extend the contract one year and a pay freeze.  This explains the discrepancy between the raises that were bargained and the raises the musicians actually received.  

• In addition to a pay freeze the musicians also agreed to donate services for a concert. The value of the donations made by the musicians exceeded $30,000.00, and this money was taken from their salaries. 

• The following summer management asked to freeze salaries again. The negotiating committee refused, asking for time to consult with experts and colleagues. Shortly after that, management went ahead and froze musician salaries unilaterally. The National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against the Richmond Symphony without even needing a hearing because the management admitted they broke the contract and the law.

• Management then came to the musicians and asked them to drop the NLRB complaint in order to save the public face of the RSO and to  maintain fund raising abilities. Even with the law on their side, the musicians conceded and agreed to postpone half of the increase to avoid a public trial and controversy which would have undoubtedly had severe and lasting effects upon the organization .

• During the time that management continued to come to musicians for concessions. They raised $5.6 million for the endowment, in spite of the fact that their goal was only $5 million. At this time they preferred to go into debt instead of using money raised for operations.

• Musicians have annually volunteered for fund raising events. (Music Marathon at Nordstroms)

• Musicians also participated in a fund raising concert to generate severance pay for a staff member leaving the orchestra.

• It is important to note that if someone goes on our web site they will not see our true work load. The full time nature of the job can be hard to understand—especially when looking at the RSO web site

• The Richmond Symphony employs 68 musicians, 36 of whom are full time (core), and 32 are part time (per-service). In the per-service category there are different levels of employment; some musicians make as little as $3744 annually. Half of the members of the orchestra receive no benefits (health insurance, vacation days, sick days or pension contributions). There have been published reports that may one to believe that all members of the orchestra make between $33,000 and $44,000, and this is not accurate.

bottom of page