Orchestra Iowa Musicians and Board Ratify Three-Year Agreement

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Agreement Effective for the 2013-2016 Seasons

The Board of Directors and Musicians of Orchestra Iowa have ratified a new contract. The three-year collective bargaining agreement between the Orchestra and the Musician’s Protective Union of Cedar Rapids, Local 137 of the American Federation of Musicians was signed August 30, 2013 and will be in effect for the 2013-2016 seasons.

The contract includes a twenty one percent increase in the minimum base wage and an increase in travel stipends to musicians. It also provides flexibility to the work rules that will enable the institution to continue to grow as a statewide symphony, ballet and opera orchestra.

“This agreement provides for not only increased compensation and improved working conditions for the musicians, but also the foundation for continuing financial stability and the means to present excellent musicianship and programming to our growing audience,” said Peter Tilly, Chair of the Players’ Committee.

Orchestra Iowa’s 68 musicians perform more than 150 concerts annually to more than 100,000 Iowans statewide. Performances include classical, popular, chamber, opera, ballet, family and educational programming. The Orchestra performs in Cedar Rapids at the Paramount Theatre, Opus Concert Café and Brucemore, in Iowa City at West High School, in Coralville at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, in Ottumwa at the Bridge View Center, in Fairfield at the Sondheim Center and in Mason City at North Iowa Area Community College. Ensembles from the Orchestra perform statewide at local libraries and elementary schools. Orchestra Iowa is broadcast statewide on Iowa Public Radio and Iowa Public Television.

“We are pleased to have concluded a long round of negotiations with the ratification of this new contract,” said Bruce Western, Secretary of AFM Local 137. “While providing improved compensation, working conditions and administrative procedures for the musicians, it also supports the continued growth and success of this outstanding orchestra. Many thanks to the Players’ Committee and all those involved and whose hard work brought this to fruition.”

Orchestra Iowa operates with an annual budget of $3 million, up 66% of its budget just five years earlier. In addition to symphonic activities, the institution operates the Orchestra Iowa School, the Opus Concert Café and manages ticket and marketing operations for the Paramount Theatre. It has a full-time administrative staff of twelve, a part-time staff of ten, 30 School faculty members and a 36-member Board of Directors.

“At a time when many orchestras in the country are struggling financially, it is reassuring to see Iowa’s strong commitment to the performing arts,” said Orchestra Iowa Board Chair Don Thompson. “Because of our growing audience, creative partnerships and entrepreneurial philosophy, Orchestra Iowa has become a national model for regional orchestras. The musicians have been an essential component of that success every step of the way and we believe this contract will allow Orchestra Iowa and its musicians to continue to grow and prosper.”

Orchestra Iowa
Founded in 1921, Orchestra Iowa is widely recognized as the state’s premier symphony orchestra. The Orchestra’s mission is to foster enjoyment of, and support for fine symphonic music through quality performances, education and community involvement. Under the direction of Timothy Hankewich, now celebrating his eighth season as Music Director, its 68 professional musicians perform more than 150 public performances throughout the year, many of which can be heard on Iowa Public Radio and seen on Iowa Public Television. Orchestra Iowa showcases its artistic excellence each season through an accomplished array of classical, ballet, opera, popular and chamber performances, in addition to extensive community education and involvement.

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Alexis Kenleigh
Orchestra Iowa
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