Albany, NY- The Albany Symphony and the Albany Musicians’ Association, Local 14 of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) today announced the signing of a new four-year collective bargaining agreement. The agreement, which was ratified by the Members of the Orchestra on July 22, is effective through June of 2023.
Representatives from the Albany Symphony Board of Directors, administrative staff, Albany Symphony Orchestra Committee (ASOC), and Local 14 participated in the negotiations, which took place over a five-month period. Underlying the intensive process, the parties engaged in meaningful discussions about ensuring the artistic integrity and excellence of the Albany Symphony, the financial sustainability of the organization, and the role of the Albany Symphony and its musicians in serving the Capital Region through the power of music.
David Rubin, Albany Symphony’s Board treasurer and negotiation team chair, said, “the stability represented by this labor agreement allows the Albany Symphony and the musicians to focus together on our work in providing the community with brilliant live performances and education and community initiatives that inspire people of all ages and walks of life. I thank the musicians for their honest and thoughtful engagement in the negotiations.”
Joey Demko, co-chair of the musicians negotiating committee, said, “The negotiating committee and the Albany Symphony engaged in days of meaningful discussions about the future of the orchestra and how to solve problems both sides were facing. Together we were able to build a collaborative agreement that ensures that the Capital District continues to have a world-class orchestra.”
John Van Voris, president of the Albany Musicians’ Association, said, “The Albany Musicians’ Association thanks the ASO management and board for working diligently in understanding the needs of working professional musicians. This agreement will ensure that our region has an orchestra that it wants and deserves, with world-class professional musicians to keep the Albany Symphony Orchestra a vibrant arts organization.”
Anna Kuwabara, executive director of the Albany Symphony, said, “I am grateful to the musicians for their commitment to the Albany Symphony and the Capital Region, especially when the competition for their great talents from other ensembles and cities is fierce. Our musicians are at the center of our institution. Our top-flight performances and meaningful work in the community are possible only through their artistry and passion.”
Key developments in this agreement include increases in the basic service pay rate (a “service” is a rehearsal or a concert), per diem, mileage rates and the guaranteed number of rehearsals and concerts in a season; and adjustments to rehearsal and concert conditions to support artistic quality. The agreement also ties potential additional increases in the basic service rate to the organization’s future financial metrics including ticket sales, fundraising, and endowment levels.
In addition to focusing on concert-related issues, the agreement addresses for the first time education and community engagement activities, which the musicians and the Albany Symphony have provided to the community for decades. Also, the principles behind and the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion best practices are included through a side letter.
The Albany Symphony would like to thank the musicians negotiating committee: co-chairs Joseph Demko (Horn) and Greg Spiridopoulos (Principal Trombone), Nathaniel Fossner (Oboe/English Horn), Catherine Hackert (Cello, chair of ASOC), Eric Latini (Trumpet), Robert Couture (chief negotiator), and John Van Voris (president, Local 14, AFM).
At the negotiating table for the Albany Symphony were: David Rubin (board treasurer, chair of negotiation team), Scott Allen (director of finance), Anna Kuwabara (executive director), Steve Lobel (board member), and Derek Smith (operations & programming manager).
Jerry Golub, chair of the Albany Symphony Board of Directors applauded the agreement saying: “This agreement provides a strong foundation upon which David Alan Miller and our musicians can build exciting experiences that are the hallmark of the institution. It is our sincerest hope that the community will join the Albany Symphony in acknowledging the importance of our musicians by attending concerts and investing in the orchestra’s future.”