All-night negotiations over a new contract for musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra ended Thursday morning after the session failed to produce a tentative agreement. Concerts will continue uninterrupted as negotiators ponder their next moves.
Leaders had hoped a proposal would go to players Thursday for consideration at a vote Monday. While no agreement was reached, some parameters of a deal appeared to be falling into place.
Management is offering a raise in base salary as of Dec. 1 of less than 3 percent, to $2,472 per week from $2,400.
To recover at least partially from a cut in the size of the orchestra several years ago, the membership would be increased by one player, to 96 (plus two librarians). Health-care and dental plans would undergo some adjustments.
The pact would run just one year - rather than the usual three or four - while arts consultant Michael M. Kaiser, chairman of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland, prepares a strategic report that would examine fund-raising, endowment, and other issues that musicians argue are sorely in need of attention.
But several impediments to a deal remain, including one involving Kaiser's report. Management has resisted the idea of sharing the findings with musicians, according to two sources familiar with negotiations. "The biggest sticking point is, they don't want to show us his report," said one, asking not to be named. "We were really close twice last night, and then it sort of fell apart."
Other issues involve the number of "buckets" of free overtime that players grant to management, and the question of whether management will pay certain expenses for players who want to delay their return from a China tour.
Asked to speak with a member of management, a Philadelphia Orchestra Association spokeswoman said in an email, "It's important that we continue toward a contract that will reward our truly outstanding musicians while also establishing the kind of financial stability that assures our long-term future." Management would "not be discussing any of the specific contract items publicly," she said.
The current deal, which expired Sept. 13, was extended through Sept. 28 and then continued under a play-and-talk agreement.
Negotiators discussed the terms being floated with the full orchestra at a meeting Thursday, and the musicians' feedback is expected to be considered in another round of talks.
"While we do not yet have an agreement, we are hopeful we will be back at the table soon," orchestra president Allison Vulgamore said in a memo to the board.
The small increase in base pay being discussed would fall far short of the lost ground players sought to make up in these negotiations. The musicians had been scheduled to receive a base-pay raise to $131,000 before the orchestra filed for bankruptcy in 2011 and deep cuts were instituted.