Grand Rapids Symphony reaches two-year CBA

Courtesy Grand Rapids Symphony

The Grand Rapids Symphony and the Grand Rapids Federation of Musicians Local 56 have agreed to a new two-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which is in place until 2023.

The agreement includes pre-pandemic level restoration of a 5% pay reduction that was implemented for a portion of the COVID-19 crisis and an additional 2% increase beginning in January 2023.

“We are pleased to announce that the board of directors has unanimously approved a two-year collective bargaining agreement with the musicians’ union that is both fiscally responsible and ensures that the symphony’s tradition of musical excellence will continue,” said Luis Avila, Grand Rapids Symphony board chairperson. “We are excited to be able to support our talented musicians in this way and feel that this is an extraordinary accomplishment, given the unprecedented last 18 months and the uncertainty we still face with the pandemic. The entire symphony family can now focus exclusively on music and an exceptional 2021-2022 season.”

The previous agreement expired on Aug. 31. It was a five-year contract, which included a one-year extension last year to provide continued economic provisions. Under that agreement, the Grand Rapids Symphony employed 47 full-time musicians and approximately 30 part-time musicians.

“Innovation of our mission during the pandemic has been a constant as we created resounding waves of hope and healing for our community,” said Mary Tuuk Kuras, president and CEO of the Grand Rapids Symphony. “The new two-year collective bargaining agreement continues that journey, while mirroring anticipated pandemic recovery with financially sustainable investment in the orchestra’s artistic excellence and musician wellbeing. Symphony family constituencies share a deep passion for our mission, and the new agreement reflects that spirit of common goals and collaboration.”

The Grand Rapids Symphony leadership and the Musician Negotiation Committee had a series of meetings between February and August to discuss economic and non-economic terms to create a successor agreement.

“The musicians of the Grand Rapids Symphony and American Federation of Musicians Local 56 are pleased with the outcome of this agreement,” Musician Negotiation Committee co-chairs Barbara Corbató and Mark Buchner said. “These negotiations were collaborative and productive and will set up the organization for success. We appreciate the support of the GRS Board and our community leaders as we move forward with live performances and in-person audiences.”

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