The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra strike is over, thanks in part to a $700,000 grant from an anonymous donor.
The orchestra made the announcement Wednesday after the musicians union and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Association (FWSOA) voted to approve an agreement on a new four-year contract. The $700,000 donation allows musicians to keep their current salaries in the first two years, then receive a weekly 2 percent pay increase in the third year, followed by a 2.5 percent increase in the fourth year. Musicians will get fewer vacation days, reduced from 35 to 28 days, to help the association generate more revenue.
“We have believed all along that our community had the strength and desire to move the orchestra forward with growth, not cuts,” Musicians Union President Stewart Williams said in a statement. “Our faith has been confirmed by this wonderful gift which exemplifies the spirit of a thriving city which loves its musicians.”
The agreement ends the strike, and the remainding performances of the 2016 season will take place as scheduled. The first performance will be a New Year's Eve concert conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya.
The musicians union and FWSOA had spent more than a year negotiating a contract that would address the organization's financial struggles but still benefit its musicians. Initial versions of the contract involved pay cuts, prompting the musicians to go on strike starting Sept. 8.
“It has been the collective goal of the management and the Board of Directors of the Fort Worth Symphony to financially stabilize the organization to secure the Orchestra’s short-term survival and long-term health,” FWSOA President and CEO Amy Adkins said in a statement. “This agreement addresses this goal while enabling the Orchestra to return to its mission of enriching this community and state with the beauty and power of symphonic music.”