In other words, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra has successfully negotiated a new two-year contract with its musicians after a period of collective bargaining. This agreement coincides with the orchestra's initial two years of performances at the newly renovated and restored Bradley Symphony Center.
Under the terms of the contract, which was established in collaboration with Local 8 of the American Federation of Musicians, the musicians will receive a 4.5% salary increase during the 2023/24 season, with an additional 3% increase scheduled for the 2024/25 season. By the end of this contract, the orchestra's minimum salary will rise to $74,310.
Mark Niehaus, the president and executive director of the MSO, ensured that the new contract includes provisions designed to enhance diversity and inclusivity in the orchestra's audition procedures. This entails an ongoing commitment to reviewing the audition process after each round, with a dedicated committee of musicians and staff members tasked with exploring ways to make auditions more fair.
Furthermore, the orchestra will explore the possibility of conducting virtual auditions to make it more accessible for musicians who may face travel-related challenges in participating in live auditions.
Robert Klieger, the principal percussionist of the MSO and chair of the Players' Council, expressed optimism among the orchestra's musicians following the ratification of this new two-year agreement. He also praised the continued support from the management and board, despite the difficulties faced by the orchestra in recent years.