Louisville Orchestra and musicians sign new contract - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville Orchestra and musicians sign new contract

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Louisville Orchestra and its musicians have reached an agreement. It allows for binding arbitration, a reduction to 57 orchestra members, and a compromise on their sick day pool.

Metro Council President Jim King spent two weeks putting together a proposal that both sides finally agreed on.

The Louisville Orchestra and its musicians signed the new one-year contract Wednesday afternoon at the Kentucky Center. The agreement reduces the size of the orchestra to 57 members from 71. The Orchestra says the one-year contract includes their current base salary of $925 a week, but for 30 weeks instead of 37. It also includes medical and pension benefits.

Musicians also give up their sick days and vacation days for the coming year. The agreement calls for a bridge contract with a consultant overseeing operations and making  recommendations on a longer contract with the orchestra musicians. The cost of the consultant has not been determined. The Orchestra says the contract is worth $5.3 million.

Council President Jim King says both sides were still working out their differences Wednesday afternoon leading up to their announcement of a new contract.

He says, "Frankly this is the first time that both sides have been in the same room for quite awhile. It was a good opportunity to heal and mend...to deal with any last minute details that had to be addressed."

Chuck Maisch, the Louisville Orchestra Board President says, "Basically, they're going to have similar terms to everything we've had in the past."

The musicians say they're happy to finally reach an agreement to bring live music back to Louisville. The two sides had been fighting over pay, benefits, and the number of musicians.

Talks last year had broken down, and earlier this month, management said it was looking at hiring new musicians. They have not played as the Louisville Orchestra for more than a year.

The new season is expected to start in the fall.

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