Agreement reached seven months before previous contract was set to expire

 (ST. LOUIS – January 30, 2017)-The St. Louis Symphony and the American Federation of Musicians, Local 2-197, announced an agreement on a new five-year labor contract today. The agreement was reached more than seven months prior to the expiration of the previous contract, providing over five years of labor stability for the St. Louis Symphony. The new contract runs through August 28, 2022.

The key components of the new five-year agreement include:

  • Annual minimum scale increases from $86,053 in FY17 to $98,304 in FY22, or 14.2% over the life of the contract in increments of 4%, 2.0%, 2.50%, and 3.0%, & 2.0% - averaging 2.8% annually. There is also a bonus of $2,250.00 in year five of the contract that will take the total compensation in 2021/2022 to $100,553.88.
  • An increase of 1/2% to the pension contribution rate starting in year three of the new agreement.
  • Work-rule adjustments that will allow for more flexibility with scheduling and how the orchestra is deployed, increased rehearsal efficiency, incorporating a personal day and updating touring conditions.

Marie-Hélène Bernard, St. Louis Symphony President and CEO, said, “This new contract is an investment in our most important asset, our musicians. While the previous contract was not set to expire until August 27, 2017, we believed it was in the interest of the St. Louis Symphony, its musicians and the community to undertake an early negotiation with a goal of reaching an early agreement. The agreement reached will now provide for over five years of labor stability. Beyond the term, the agreement itself allows us to move compensation forward for the orchestra. I’m deeply grateful to Bill Moriarity, Tim Myers, Vicky Smolik, and the extraordinary members of the committee for their wisdom and understanding of opportunities and challenges, as well as the importance of long-term labor stability for the St. Louis Symphony.”

Timothy Myers, Principal Trombone & Chair of the St. Louis Symphony Musicians’ Negotiating Committee, said, “This agreement addresses many of the musicians’ concerns about the Symphony’s ability to attract and retain the best musicians to our orchestra. With much recent positive press about our performances in capitals in the US and Europe, as well as here in St. Louis, our artistic standing is unquestioned. We will now also see our economic standing among American orchestras rise as well. Besides the economic gains, we also achieved protections for our health and safety that were lacking in our previous agreements. The professionalism and constructive dialogue at the negotiating table certainly helped us reach this early agreement. Special thanks goes to our union, American Federation of Musicians Local 2-197, which has been unfailingly supportive of the musicians.”

Vicky Smolik, President of the Musicians’ Association of St. Louis, Local 2-197, A.F.M., said, “We reached an agreement with the St. Louis Symphony on a new collective bargaining agreement. The negotiations were very professional and allowed us to negotiate wages and pension that are now on par with many of the orchestras in our peer group and will attract players to the St. Louis Symphony. We were also able to achieve work rule changes that were a benefit to both sides that allow flexibility as well as protect the health needs of the orchestra members.”

The St. Louis Symphony recently reported the strongest financial results in many years and a balanced cash operating budget for the first time this century. Thanks to the generous support of the St. Louis community, FY16 produced its best ever Annual Campaign total of $7.68 million from 5,394 donors -- 30% of whom were new. Impressive results were also achieved in building the St. Louis Symphony’s Endowment Trust. Significant contributions have been received over the past three years as part of ongoing efforts to secure endowment funding commensurate with the orchestra’s needs. As of today, the Symphony endowment exceeded $200 million.