Shelley Osterloh ReportingThe Utah Symphony and Opera is making progress in its fight to regain financial stability. The Symphony and Opera announced today a tentative agreement with the Symphony Musicians Union.
A recent report from an outside consultant pointed out some serious problems with the Utah Symphony and Opera organization. Among them, a 1.6 million dollar deficit this season. The Morris Report also recommended adoption of a new financial plan for the future, improved leadership, and formal oversight.
The Musicians Union wanted to be sure critical elements of the Morris Report would be adopted before they agreed to a contract. A local task force, which included a musician representative, has been studying the Morris recommendations and presented its preliminary financial recovery plan to the Symphony's executive committee yesterday. Today the symphony announced a tentative agreement with the union.
The Musicians’ spokesman Gerald Elias says he thinks musicians will find the Morris plan to be a good roadmap for recovery and that musicians are ready to help the Symphony get back on its feet.
Gerald Elias, Musician's Spokesman: "It calls for a two year salary freeze and a possible wage re-opener in the third year, and a three year freeze of working conditions and benefits."
Speaking today on KUER's Radio West, representatives of management and musicians all voiced support for the Task Force Recommendations, although details won't be released to the public until next week when its approved by the board. Music Director Keith Lockhart says he too is optimistic about the plan.
Keith Lockhart, Music Director Utah Symphony and Opera: "I think when everybody sees this they are going to realize that we’ve taken these recommendations very seriously and have come up with a set of very concrete solutions that I think all of us on all sides of this coin are confident will go a long way towards stabilizing the situation."
Elias stresses that the plan is just the first step in a long process.
Gerald Elias, Musician's Spokesman: "This is going to take years to really remedy and that what we are encouraged about is that we are all working on the same page."
Next Thursday the Utah Symphony Board will examine the Task Force's report and recommendations, and Friday the Musicians’ Union will vote on the contract agreement.