New Jersey Symphony announces contractual agreement with musicians

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The New Jersey Symphony Board of Trustees and the Musicians Guild of Northern New Jersey, American Federation of Musicians Local 16-248 have ratified a five-year contractual agreement. The agreement comes at the start of the Orchester symphonique’s centennial season and on the heels of two Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards for New Jersey Symphony concert films produced during the pandemic. The agreement between the New Jersey Symphony and the musicians union is retroactive to September 1, 2022 and runs through August 31, 2027.

New Jersey Symphony President and CEO Gabriel van Aalst said, “This new five-year contract is a tremendous reflection of the cooperation and stability that the New Jersey Symphony can be proud of as we celebrate our centennial and ushering the Symphony into its second century. I would like to thank the Orchestra Committee, the Union and the musicians of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for their collaborative approach to this process and their continued and unwavering commitment to the future of the Symphony Orchestra. This new contract, along with the five A one-year contract recently signed with our Music Director Xian Zhang, reinforces the solid artistic and organizational foundation of the Symphony Orchestra, from which we can continue to serve the diverse communities of New Jersey.”

Musicians’ Orchestra Committee Chairman Martin Andersen said: “From the start of negotiations in May, the musicians have sought a long-term agreement to provide stability as the organization emerges from the pandemic, famously its centenary and looks to a strong future.We look forward to continuing our mission of artistic excellence under the leadership of our Music Director, Xian Zhang, with ever-increasing service to our communities.The Orchestra Committee must also thank Anthony Scally, president of the American Federation of Musicians Local 16-248 and AFM negotiator Todd Jelen for his guidance and expertise at the bargaining table.”

American Federation of Musicians Local 16-248 President Anthony Scally said, “American Federation of Musicians Local 16-248 was pleased to be able to help musicians and the Symphony Orchestra achieve an agreement that will foster growth and creativity over the next five years. We applaud the Symphony Orchestra as it celebrates its 100th anniversary season!”

Under the five-year contract, the musicians’ base salary will increase by 2% in the first year of the agreement, followed by a 3% base salary increase in the second, third and fourth years, and a base salary increase of 3.05% in the fifth year. Symphony’s season remains at 28 weeks through the current 2022-23 season and extends to its 29-week pre-pandemic schedule beginning in 2023-24.

In order to continue efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion on the stages of the Symphony Orchestra, the agreement is accompanied by a letter of intent to be signed by the union and the Symphony Orchestra to addressing the process and policies surrounding audition procedures, with the goal of drafting new audition language by June 15, 2023, to support a more diverse and racially equitable hiring process.

Underscoring a mutual commitment to delivering performances of the highest artistic quality and connecting musicians to communities, the contract also increases schedule flexibility and defines rehearsal time for education and community engagement services, including performances as part of the New Jersey Symphony Community Partners program.

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