Fort Worth Symphony to Use Mediation in Contract Negotiations
It’s been more than a year since Fort Worth symphony members have had a contract and ongoing negotiations have been volatile. Now, the two sides will attempt mediation in an effort to bring the long-term dispute to an end.
Mediation will utilize a neutral third party person to help the side reach a contract agreement. The process is non-binding, so either side can end the process at any time, but there is hope the mediator will be able to facilitate productive discussions after months of feuding that included public demonstrations in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square by the musicians.
The musicians were unhappy when management cut pay. This was the second pay cut made in an effort to make up the $800,000 deficient the orchestra faces, according to Forth Worth Symphony President Amy Adkins. Adkins point out she’s disappointed cuts are necessary, but wants orchestra members to “take a proportionate share” of the financial problem.
The musicians see it differently, arguing the growing local economy and population increase should result in money for raises. The two sides are hoping a mediator will help them find common ground.
According to orchestra members, additional time was offered to symphony directors to allow them to find additional sources of funding and income. Adkins stated they are doing that, but also stated the orchestra is in competition with other area nonprofits. She believes fewer people are donating money and it is forcing all Fort Worth nonprofits to get creative will how they stay afloat, including staffing cuts.