Niagara Symphony Orchestra and Musicians Union ratify new 5-year collective agreement

Aug 01, 2017

Niagara, Ontario,  August 1, 2017

The Board of Directors of the Niagara Symphony Orchestra (NSO) today announced the ratification of a five-year collective bargaining agreement between the Niagara Symphony Association and the Niagara Region Musicians’ Association (NRMA) Local 298, American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada. The new agreement provides for a 16.5% salary increase in year one, 4% in year two, and 2% in year 3, as well as improvements to the musicians’ pension plan and travel.  With this contract also comes innovative ways to engage the community, extend the Symphony’s reach, and deepen roots within the educational system.

"This is a momentous day for the NSO, its musicians, subscribers, donors, and corporate partners. Reaching this new agreement, which was a long time in coming, is a testament to the spirit of collaboration and mutual respect shared by both parties as well as a sign of our evolution as an organization.” Howard Slepkov, Chair of the NSO Board of Directors
“The musicians of the NSO overwhelmingly supported the ratification of this new Agreement. We are passionate about our role in the cultural life of the Niagara Region and the continuing development of the orchestra.  We would like to thank Steve Mosher of CFM Symphonic Services Division for his assistance in reaching an agreement which incorporates the best of current practices in Canadian orchestras.” Gordon Cleland, Principal Cellist of the NSO and Secretary/Treasurer of the NRMA
"This successful conclusion is the result of a desire to negotiate in a spirit that places at the fore our common interest to develop the orchestra’s high standard of excellence and retain the extraordinary musicians that currently grace our roster.The orchestra can now focus on reaching new heights and gaining even greater exposure as we enter our third season in our new home, the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.” Bradley Thachuk, Music Director
“With a term of five years, the collective agreement consolidates the stability and good relations within the broader NSO family. The musician’s new collective agreement, which was overwhelmingly supported by the members of the orchestra with 86% participation, covers the period from August 1, 2017 to July 31, 2022.  The formal signing of this agreement will take place later.” Candice Turner-Smith, Executive Director

About the Niagara Symphony - 70 Seasons to Celebrate! 

A cultural treasure for seven decades, the Niagara Symphony Orchestra (NSO) is a professional orchestra of over 52 musicians providing classical and contemporary orchestral music to more than 12,000 residents of the Niagara Region annually.  This season, the NSO presents 24 concerts in three distinct series: Masterworks, POPS! and Classical Family. The NSO proudly showcases top national and international guest artists bringing the stars of the world to the stages of Niagara.  In the fall of 2010, the NSO welcomed Bradley Thachuk as the tenth Music Director. Maestro Thachuk leads the orchestra on the stages of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.   The NSO is also a leader in music education, offering programmes to inspire and nurture a life-long love of music in Niagara’s citizens.  Summer Music Camp, The Story String Quartet, Youth Club and The Academy at Summer Music Camp give students the opportunity to explore and make music. Our Spotlight On! programme showcases student ensembles in the lobby during NSO performances. A registered not-for-profit arts organization, the NSO receives support from individual donors, corporate sponsors and partners and federal, provincial, regional and municipal governments, all of whom recognize the vital role the creative arts play in a developing and sustaining a thriving community. 

About the Musicians Union (NRMA)

The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) is the largest organization in the world dedicated to representing the interests of professional musicians. Local 298 has been serving Niagara region musicians since 1933 and represents the very finest professional musicians in the Niagara region.  Local 298 continues to be an effective advocate for musicians’ rights in the workplace (be that nightclub, a symphony stage, in a recording studio, or on tour). The AFM and Local 298 protect the recorded works musicians produce from being exploited, and protect members live performances by providing several types of benefit programs that help them build successful careers. Members of Local 298 are secure in knowing that their organization is actively lobbying to promote legislation and public awareness that protects musicians’ interests, negotiating collective bargaining agreements with the recording industry, motion picture industry, jingle industry, TV networks, National Public TV and Radio, and by providing excellent wages and working conditions for its members.  AFM members number almost 100,000, worldwide and has been promoting and protecting professional musicians for over 110 years.

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For additional information, members of the media may contact:

Candice Turner-Smith, Executive Director
Niagara Symphony Orchestra
905-687-4993 ext. 224
Candice.TurnerSmith@niagarasymphony.org