Dallas Symphony Ratifies New Three Year CBA

December 9, 2021

On June 28, 2021, the Musicians of the Dallas Symphony ratified a three-year agreement that runs from September 1, 2021 through August 31, 2024. The first year of the agreement restores wages to the pre-pandemic level of the 2019-20 season (as wages had been cut by 10% during 2020-21 to address pandemic circumstances). Year two and three of the agreement each provide an additional 2.5% increase in base wages respectively.

With Management contributing a fixed amount per Musician for health care each year, the unused dollars in a given year covering premiums accrue in a surplus fund available to spend on future increases. With this agreement, this surplus will now have a floor of $250,000, and a cap of $1.25 Million.

Using funds for start-up costs from this current Health Care Surplus, a new 403(b) plan will be established beginning 9/1/2022. In the 2021-22 season, musicians will receive a $750 bonus which can be used as the musician’s 403(b) contribution. For the next two years the employer will match 1% and 1.5% respectively, initially using funds from the Health Care Surplus.

Also the DSO’s complement of musicians will increase from 82 to 96 by the 2023-24 season, with these increases spread evenly across the agreement’s three year term.

Various improvements in working conditions were negotiated related to travel conditions for local runouts and foreign tours, and rules were developed in the scheduling of various types of programs (pops, movie presentations, opera, etc.) to even out the musicians’ workload.

Also, the terms and conditions for the employment of the two orchestra librarians in the bargaining unit have been incorporated into the CBA (moved from a side letter), making the base wages and most other conditions for these orchestra members the same as playing musicians.

In addition, an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee will be formed consisting of orchestra members and employer representatives to explore ways to foster principles of equity, diversity and inclusion across the organization. Diversity and inclusion language was also added with regard to auditions that encourages active recruiting of candidates, with a stated commitment to increase diversity within the orchestra complement.

All in all, this agreement represents a commitment toward the Dallas Symphony’s continued artistic quality and growth for the organization, despite the difficulties brought about due to the Pandemic.

In addition, the musicians ratified a modified COVID-19 safety plan for the 2021-22 Season. A vaccine requirement for the orchestra’s musicians, and a modified testing cadence for the musicians has allowed performances for full orchestra to move forward. Audiences are still socially distanced, but sold to a capacity of 65% at the opening of the season. The Plan is subject to modification by mutual agreement as circumstances evolve.

Thanks to the negotiating team: Matt Good, Chair; Russell Campbell, Barry Hearn, Emily Levin, David Sywak, Local 72-147 President Stewart Williams, and Local 72-147 Counsel Kevin Case.