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Southwest Florida Symphony Musicians have ratified a
two-year agreement.

Musicians have agreed to a 1% increase in wages per year and slight increases in the travel stipend, but some issues remain.
(Ft. Myers, FL) Musicians of the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra have agreed to a two-year contract as of March 23, 2024.

The musicians had been working without a ratified contract since 2019. While the management had claimed to be at an impasse, the musicians continued to play to ensure the survival of the orchestra.

The musicians of SWFSO are paid on a per-service basis: a service is a single rehearsal or concert. The agreement provides for an increase of $1.50 per-service from $142 for the remainder of this season. Prior to this, musicians’ pay has essentially remained stagnant for the last five years. Next season, the musicians’ per-service rate increases to $145, which still makes the Symphony one of the lowest paid professional orchestras in the state. The current per-service rate for the Sarasota Orchestra is $162, Naples Philharmonic is $168, The Florida Orchestra: $161, Orlando Philharmonic: $154.

The agreement improves some of the working conditions that were imposed on the musicians in 2020, although the musicians still aspire to see a more complete restoration of their previous agreement.

“While we are pleased to be finally working under an agreement for the first time in 4 years, we are still concerned about the future of the Symphony,” said Jeanie Phelan, Assistant Principal Viola, and chair of the Orchestra Committee. “Our wages are still far lower than what other orchestras are paying, and we still don’t feel that the organization is being transparent about its finances. More concerning is that we have yet to see a vision for the future. We hope to work collaboratively with the management and Board of Directors to solve these outstanding issues.”

Principal Tuba Tom Kracmer and owner of Cadence Music said, “We believe great things are possible for the orchestra. We look forward to continuing to work with our new Music Director to grow the orchestra artistically, expand our concert season, and develop more robust educational and community engagement programs that will ensure the future of the Southwest Florida Symphony for generations to come.”
For more information, visit the Musician’s website at .

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