Symphony Still Awaits Contract
By Maria Hickey, KWMU
St. Louis – The president of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra says management has made its best and final offer.
The two sides appeared to have an agreement after more than 13 hours of negotiations yesterday. Symphony President Randy Adams says that is until the union's lead negotiator asked for a change after a deal was reached.
"We stretched very, very hard to make this work. This is a very fair offer; witness the fact that we had an agreement," Adams said. "There must have been a change of heart someway, somehow after we had had an agreement, and I don't know what happened."
Adams says the union wanted to lower musicians' signing bonus and boost pay in the final year of the three-year contract as a way to leverage the next contract negotiations.
Jan Gippo, chair of the musicians' negotiating team, says management tentatively agreed to a union proposal then later backed out.
"What we had given them we could have recommended, but what came back, we couldn't and it really has to do with the amount of money and the amount of health insurance we pay for," Gippo said.
Musicians chose not to vote this morning on the latest contract offer and instead passed a motion saying they'll wait to vote until the union negotiating committee recommends a contract.
The symphony has cancelled 15 concerts since the work stoppage began in early January. No new talks are scheduled.