March 8, 2023

Fort Wayne Philharmonic strike has ended, concerts to resume

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Article origination 89.1 WBOI
One Philharmonic musician holds up signs during a picket in front of the Embassy on Friday, January 6, 2023. Musicians have been on strike since December 8, 2022. - Brittany Smith / WBOI News

One Philharmonic musician holds up signs during a picket in front of the Embassy on Friday, January 6, 2023. Musicians have been on strike since December 8, 2022.

Brittany Smith / WBOI News
Ella Abbott

After exactly three months on strike, Fort Wayne Philharmonic management and musicians have reached a tentative agreement that will bring musicians back to work.

The new agreement, expected to be ratified over the next few days, includes wage increases and an expansion of the orchestra’s season – from 28 to 30 weeks.

About a month into the strike, musicians agreed to management’s wage proposal of a 44-percent increase over four years. But things like workplace flexibility and bargaining rights held the process up.

Musicians union spokesperson Campbell MacDonald says it was important to uphold bargaining rights for musicians, but that they see more access to their evenings as a concession.

“But we’ve got some wages to make up for that.”

MacDonald says musicians are excited to get back to work and return orchestra music to the city. In a release about the contract agreement, Philharmonic board chair Rick James said the board is looking forward to “working collaboratively” to continue the mission of the orchestra.

Musicians will return to performing almost immediately, beginning with the production of Swan Lake with the Fort Wayne Ballet on March 24.

The new contract will expire in August 2026.

 

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