Milwaukee Symphony, musicians reach contract agreement

Adds week to orchestra season in new Milwaukee Symphony Center

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and its musicians have reached a four-year contract agreement, which includes an expansion of the orchestra season in the new Milwaukee Symphony Center.

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Under the terms of the new agreement, an additional week will be added to the 2020-’21 and 2021-’22 seasons, bringing the total calendar up to 42 weeks. The change allows for more performance weeks in MSO’s new home, which is scheduled to open in fall 2020.

MSO officials this week celebrated the start of construction on the restoration of the former Warner Grand Theatre, which will be called the Milwaukee Symphony Center when it’s completed.

Board chairman Andy Nunemaker and MSO president and executive director Mark Niehaus announced Friday that MSO and its musicians, represented by Local 8 of the American Federation of Musicians, had reached the agreement.

The contract includes annual salary increases of 1.75 percent in year one; no increase in year two; 3 percent in year three; and 3.5 percent in year four. Over the course of the contract, the base salary will increase to $70,723.

“This four-year agreement, following a holding pattern in recent years of short-term contracts, demonstrates a commitment by the MSO board and management to artistic quality and stability for musicians during this exciting time of transition for the MSO,” said Laurie Shawger, Players’ Council chair.

The contract also calls for increased scheduling flexibility, which will allow time for the MSO’s community engagement initiatives, the organization said.

“This contract negotiation demonstrates the continuing spirit of collaboration between the MSO and its musicians,” Nunemaker said. “The MSO Board is committed to fiscal stability, careful expense management, and diversifying our circle of supporters as well as increasing our revenue. Without the orchestra members’ spirit of co-ownership of our mission, we would not be successful. We are grateful for them both on and off the stage.”

The musicians’ negotiating team included: Laurie Shawger, Players’ Council chair; Dietrich Hemann; Robert Klieger; Jon McCullough-Benner; Helen Reich; Christopher Riggs; Nicole Sutterfield; Robert Levine, Local 8 president; and negotiating counsel Kevin Case.

The MSO negotiating team included: Niehaus; Susan Loris, executive vice president for institutional advancement; Bret Dorhout, vice president of artistic planning and operations; Catherine Kiekhofer, chief financial officer and vice president, finance and administration; Linda Unkefer, orchestra personnel manager; John Roloff, director of operations; and Eric Hobbs, MSO board of directors vice chairman and shareholder at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart P.C.

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and its musicians have reached a four-year contract agreement, which includes an expansion of the orchestra season in the new Milwaukee Symphony Center.

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Under the terms of the new agreement, an additional week will be added to the 2020-’21 and 2021-’22 seasons, bringing the total calendar up to 42 weeks. The change allows for more performance weeks in MSO’s new home, which is scheduled to open in fall 2020.

MSO officials this week celebrated the start of construction on the restoration of the former Warner Grand Theatre, which will be called the Milwaukee Symphony Center when it’s completed.

Board chairman Andy Nunemaker and MSO president and executive director Mark Niehaus announced Friday that MSO and its musicians, represented by Local 8 of the American Federation of Musicians, had reached the agreement.

The contract includes annual salary increases of 1.75 percent in year one; no increase in year two; 3 percent in year three; and 3.5 percent in year four. Over the course of the contract, the base salary will increase to $70,723.

“This four-year agreement, following a holding pattern in recent years of short-term contracts, demonstrates a commitment by the MSO board and management to artistic quality and stability for musicians during this exciting time of transition for the MSO,” said Laurie Shawger, Players’ Council chair.

The contract also calls for increased scheduling flexibility, which will allow time for the MSO’s community engagement initiatives, the organization said.

“This contract negotiation demonstrates the continuing spirit of collaboration between the MSO and its musicians,” Nunemaker said. “The MSO Board is committed to fiscal stability, careful expense management, and diversifying our circle of supporters as well as increasing our revenue. Without the orchestra members’ spirit of co-ownership of our mission, we would not be successful. We are grateful for them both on and off the stage.”

The musicians’ negotiating team included: Laurie Shawger, Players’ Council chair; Dietrich Hemann; Robert Klieger; Jon McCullough-Benner; Helen Reich; Christopher Riggs; Nicole Sutterfield; Robert Levine, Local 8 president; and negotiating counsel Kevin Case.

The MSO negotiating team included: Niehaus; Susan Loris, executive vice president for institutional advancement; Bret Dorhout, vice president of artistic planning and operations; Catherine Kiekhofer, chief financial officer and vice president, finance and administration; Linda Unkefer, orchestra personnel manager; John Roloff, director of operations; and Eric Hobbs, MSO board of directors vice chairman and shareholder at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart P.C.

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