“Our last proposal moved by over half a million dollars. Management’s economic proposal hasn’t changed since October. What’s wrong with this picture?” said Julie Vinsant, a double bassist in the orchestra.
Management’s admission of their position comes after musicians offered a comprehensive proposal, including wages, on March 9. For a month, management failed to bring a proposal of any kind—and cancelled 3 scheduled negotiations without giving alternate dates.
In January, musicians and management signed a temporary agreement that forestalled a possible strike with the understanding that FWSO leadership would quickly return to the bargaining table and negotiate in good faith.
“Management is missing in action,” said FWSO violist Scott Jessup. “Instead of bargaining, we see cancelled negotiations and a refusal to discuss fundamental issues. Instead of fundraising, we see excuses. Instead of accountability, we see broken agreements, finger-pointing and games at the bargaining table.”
Management’s financial proposal, unchanged since October 2015, would cut salaries back to 2003 levels—after musicians took a 13.5% pay cut in 2010 to help with the bottom line.
Last week, FWSO musicians stood on-stage and unveiled over 4,500 signatures supporting “growth, not cuts”, from FWSO patrons, donors, students, and Fort Worth businesses. They vowed to continue their fight.
In a speech, Jessup said “we will not accept any more excuses from management”, adding “we will not accept that Fort Worth doesn’t deserve a world class orchestra.”