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Long Beach Symphony reaches agreement with musicians' union

January 21, 2010 |  4:27 pm

Longbeach

The Long Beach Symphony announced today it has reached an agreement with a musicians' union that would allow the orchestra to proceed with its current season and avoid canceling the 2010-11 season.

The agreement is pending ratification by musicians in the orchestra, according to Local 353 of the American Federation of Musicians. The details of the agreement will be released to musicians on Friday and results of the voting aren't expected until possibly Feb. 5, according to the union.

Earlier this month, the Long Beach Symphony said that its board members had voted to ax the 2010-11 season unless the two sides could reach an agreement by Jan. 22.

At the time, Roger Goulette, the orchestra's president, said in a statement that the organization "will run out of cash and exhaust our secured line of credit by the end of January."  Among the orchestra's requests is a more flexible contract that would help bring costs under control.

Local 353 declined to reveal specifics about the agreement due to its pending nature. It did reveal that it's a multi-year agreement under which musicians won't see wage scale increases this year or next.

Paul Castillo, secretary-treasurer for Local 353, said in an interview that the orchestra had not been doing enough fundraising to cover its costs.

"When an organization says to its musicians that it doesn't have enough money and that you're going to have to take cuts, our position is prove that there isn't enough money," said Castillo.

He added that negotiations have gone on for "months" and that "we feel that this agreement serves as a solution to many of the issues."

Leaders of the Long Beach Symphony could not be reached today for comment. The orchestra, which recently celebrated its 75th anniversary, has an annual operating budget of $2.7 million and an endowment of $1.6 million, according to Robert C. Jones, interim executive director. Last fiscal year, the organization ran a deficit of $397,000.

-- David Ng

Photo: Enrique Arturo Diemecke conducts the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra. Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times

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