Texas’ San Antonio Symphony Musicians Stay on Strike 

(Picture courtesy: San Antonio Categorical-Information)


The San Antonio Symphony’s (SAS) administration final 12 months proposed that the complete orchestra would as an alternative comprise 68 musicians.

As defined by SAS Government Director Corey Cowart: “Forty-two could be full-time musicians and the remaining twenty-six could be what’s known as ‘per service,’ half time as wanted, with a assured variety of performances and pay.”

The Musicians of SAS (MOSAS) have since responded to that contract’s phrases in a letter they posted on their Fb web page a part of which reads:


“No matter orchestra is placed on stage is not going to be the San Antonio Symphony our audiences have been coming to see. It will likely be an amputated orchestra plus no matter half time musicians will comply with play after a lot of our advantageous musicians have left city.

Based on administration’s personal proposal, the per-service musicians would obtain no medical health insurance, no seniority pay, no paid sick go away or parental go away, and no Digital Media Assure. Calling such a contract a ‘Full Contract’ is dishonest and deliberately deceptive.”


Earlier this month, MOSAS started a renegotiation. They supplied the Symphony Society of San Antonio the return of all musicians for the rest of the 2022 season on the premise that they’d be capable to return to work with full advantages as agreed earlier than the proposal by the SAS board. 

As outlined in an announcement by MOSAS on their Fb web page, in line with “new monetary projections,” the funds required for such an settlement could be properly inside the society’s means.

Nonetheless, per week later, their provide was declined. Government Director Cowart maintained that SAS would proceed to cancel concert events because of the musicians’ strike and offered “no counterproposal.”

With the help of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), MOSAS recognized as AFM Native 23 because the negotiations continued. “The Symphony board members have now confirmed to the neighborhood past a shadow of a doubt that their true intent is to place an finish to SAS,” stated Richard Oppenheim, AFM Native 23’s president.

“These entrusted with managing the way forward for one of many oldest symphony orchestras within the U.S. have thus assured its destruction,” said Mary Ellen Goree, SAS Principal Second Violin and Negotiating Committee Chair of MOSAS. “Rejecting our proposal is a transparent failure of management.”

Based on MOSAS’s most up-to-date official assertion, “no musicians have been paid since September and the vacant creative director place has been saving cash.”

Additional, in an open letter from the SAS to their patrons, they said that MOSAS rejected their requests to “contain a mediator to help in our negotiations.” The musicians’ union responded to this letter, seeing it as a condemnation for points perpetrated by the SAS board.

As reported in San Antonio Categorical-Information, although concert events had been being canceled, the symphony said that they had been changing into financially stronger in contrast with their previous. This was because of federal COVID-relief funds between 2020 and 2021, in addition to patron donations.

Whereas this was the case, the monetary state of the symphony is in a adverse place, in line with Cowart. “The federal funding has tremendously helped,” he stated. “When it comes to our enhancing financials, the change could be very small.” 

Regardless of this, MOSAS beforehand famous the projection by the symphony society of a surplus of $1.8 million by the top of the fiscal 12 months in a monetary assertion for the ensemble. This was the premise from which MOSAS selected their most up-to-date provide.

“[This surplus] was projected in the beginning of December [2021],” MOSAS secretary Eric Siu advised San Antonio Categorical-Information. “Since then, a minimum of three extra weeks of concert events have been canceled,” Siu defined. “Each week we cancel, they [the society] get monetary savings.”

In response, Cowart expressed that for years, the symphony had begun every season beneath the place of getting extra liabilities than belongings because of adverse working capital. This, he says, would additionally imply {that a} “surplus” doesn’t essentially counsel further funding. 

In response to the negotiations, not solely have each side filed fees with the Nationwide Labor Relations Board, however MOSAS have rallied on the SAS live performance corridor — Tobin Middle for Performing Arts — and held silent protests exterior the houses of Cowart and Kathleen Weir Vale, chair of the symphony society.


(Picture courtesy: San Antonio Present)


“Rejecting our provide is a transparent indication that this [SAS] board and administration have given up,” added Goree. “They need to admit their failure and let others with extra acumen and need to see the SAS thrive deliver a brand new period of power and concepts.”

“A current letter from the Musicians’ Union infers the Symphony Society is unwilling to barter; this isn’t correct,” the SAS board wrote to their patrons. “We do, nonetheless, acknowledge that each events stay very far aside.

“We nonetheless imagine it’s important to get all events in a dialogue of what’s potential to deliver our Symphony again to stay performances and ultimately transfer us right into a place of ongoing sustainability,” the assertion added. “We stay decided to discover a contract all events can stay with.”

A podcast dialogue between SAS Principal Trombone Steve Peterson and contrabassoonist Marty Gordon of the negotiations may be watched beneath:



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