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Fort Worth Symphony Cancels Weekend Performances After Musicians Go On Strike

Bill Zeeble
Members of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra picket following their announcement to go on strike Thursday.

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra musicians are on strike. The musicians union announced the news Thursday afternoon.

Musicians and management met Thursday after musicians voted Wednesday night to authorize a strike. After that meeting, the musicians union released a statement saying they were given a final contract offer from management – and that it’s identical to the offer they rejected last time.

The proposed contract calls for a 6.5 percent pay cut the first year with pay increases in future years.

The musicians union says pay cuts proposed by management are too deep. Symphony management says it can’t pay what the musicians are asking for. The symphony’s trying to close a deficit of $700,000. 

“The musicians decided that it was time to go on strike because they have been in talks for over 14 months to find a way and a plan to grow the orchestra and not cut it,” says Stewart Williams with the union.

The American Federation of Musicians International President Ray Hair released a statement commending the "courage" of the Fort Worth musicians:

"We applaud the courage of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra musicians who are striking today in response to an attempt by their employer to impose unjustified concessions—all made to compensate for inept management and to quench the thirst for additional rent and a larger cut of ticket sales by their landlord, the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall.
We are in full support of the talented members of the orchestra who have brought joy, happiness and superb musical performances to Fort Worth and across North Texas for generations. This strike is about fairness, and we commend the unity and collective spirit shown today by Fort Worth musicians, their friends and families. We call on the management and board of directors of the Fort Worth Symphony Association to immediately work with the musicians to achieve an acceptable agreement ."

The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra was scheduled to begin a new season Friday, but the orchestra announced its weekend performances have been cancelled. 

The orchestra says it will notify ticket holders regarding options for handling unused tickets.