Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Musicians Strike, Play Free Concerts

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - 09:15 AM

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (Michael Sahaida)

The musicians and the management of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra are locked in a standoff that has led to further concert cancellations through Nov. 18. The PSO musicians began their strike at the end of September after the musicians' union rejected a management contract offer that included cuts to salary and retirement plans, as has been reported.

After a federal arbitration process failed to reach an agreement, the continued strike led to the PSO management's decision to cancel additional concerts in November, including concerts with guest conductors Leonard Slatkin and Gianandrea Noseda.

In a statement, Christian Schornich, senior vice president and COO, said that he hoped talks would resume soon but that without a deal in place the PSO would have to cancel the additional shows.

Representatives of the musicians, in a statement of their own, denied that the cancellations were necessary, hoping instead for a quick resolution.

"We are ready to negotiate an end to this dispute so the musicians can be back on stage at Heinz Hall. But management has repeatedly declared that they are unwilling to compromise — that they won’t even meet with us unless we accept the ‘last, best and final’ contract demands they made a month ago," bassist Micah Howard and committee chairman said in the statement.

Two weeks ago while on strike, the PSO musicians performed a free concert for more than 200 people at the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School. Howard told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the striking musicians may organize more free concerts while they are awaiting their return to Heinz Hall.

In this video, Howard announces the strike at the end of September.

And this video shows PSO musicians holding other free concerts across the city in October.

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