SAS Contract Negotiation Updates

Last updated: Monday, October 18th

Disclaimer: this page is for general information purposes only and not intended to represent a full account of negotiation or organizational activities.

Are there any changes to the upcoming season?

As of September 27, 2021, the Musicians of the San Antonio Symphony are on strike. San Antonio Symphony concerts will only be performed when mutually agreed upon contract terms are reached between the Symphony Society, AFM Local 23, and the Musicians of the San Antonio Symphony. As the Musicians of the San Antonio Symphony remain on strike, the following concerts have been postponed:

  • Radiant Rachmaninoff, October 29th & 30th, 2021
  • Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, November 5 & 6, 2021

Symphony staff is working to reschedule these postponed concerts. If you hold tickets to one of the above concerts, a San Antonio Symphony Box Office representative will contact you directly in the coming days to ensure your understand your ticketing options and the rescheduling process.

Out of consideration for our constituents, the Symphony Society of San Antonio will issue concert postponement announcements with sufficient notice prior to a scheduled performance if a labor agreement has not been reached. Musicians and guest artists, our audience, and our business partners all deserve advance notice, as each will be impacted by these changes to our performances. Each performance requires significant promotional planning and cancelling events without necessary notice would result in wasted expense.

We know this is disappointing, and we appreciate your continued support as we navigate this challenging time. Our board and management have a responsibility to ensure the San Antonio Symphony is both artistically and financially strong for our audiences, community, supporters, and musicians for years to come. We will continue working with our musicians to arrive at an agreement that achieves this goal.

The San Antonio Symphony Box Office is available for assistance at (210)554-1080 or boxoffice@sasymphony.org. If you have any questions or would like clarification about your ticketing options, please call!

What is the current status of Contract Negotiations?

The Symphony Board is committed to fulfilling the mission of the San Antonio Symphony to serve its community through performances of great music.  We know the musicians share this same commitment.  Our joint mission is not possible, however, without financial viability.

Over the past several months, the Symphony Board has put forward multiple written offers to our Local Musicians’ Union. Unfortunately, we have been unable to reach an agreement with modifications to our CBA that balances with our 21-22 revenue projections. The Board of Directors and the Board Negotiating Committee voted to implement its Last, Best, and Final offer effective September 27, 2021.

As of September 27, 2021, the musicians have rejected the implementation of our last, best and final offer and voted to strike. While we are disappointed by the musicians’ decision, we remain open to further negotiations and committed to presenting your concerts to you.

To stabilize the organization and sustain it for the future, the Symphony must hold strong to creating a sustainable future. The musicians are the heart of the Symphony, and we are committed to continuing to bargain with the Union until we reach a mutually-agreeable contract. Only together can we keep orchestral music a vital component in the San Antonio community.

How do the negotiations currently affect our patrons and what should they do today?

No matter the circumstances, patrons, donors, grantors, and supporters are key to our artistic and financial success. All have been patient, gracious, and generous over the last 18 months. This continues today with many asking how they can help during this time. We are incredibly grateful and ask you to demonstrate your support by generously giving today and then preparing to attend and celebrate the return of the Orchestra to the stage.

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What is the Symphony Board’s Last, Best, and Final Offer?

Management’s last, best and final offer, also referred to as management proposal #5, includes a complement of 68 musicians—42 core musicians and 26 full contract per service musicians. The board negotiating committee remains willing to continue negotiations with the musicians’ union to attempt to reach mutually-agreeable revisions to the third year of the CBA

What is a Collective Bargaining Agreement?

A collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is a written legal contract between an employer and a union representing the employees. The CBA is the result of an extensive negotiation process between the parties regarding topics such as wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.

Mandatory subjects of bargaining are those topics required by law and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Those subjects include items like wages, overtime, bonuses, grievance procedures, safety and work practices, and seniority, as well as procedures for discharge, layoff, recall, or discipline.

What is a Musicians’ Union?

The two major unions representing musicians are the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). AFM represents musicians, while AFTRA members are vocalists and actors.

The AFM is the largest musicians’ union in the world, with members from all fields and types of music. The group negotiates and administers agreements with the major recording companies, film and television companies, live music venues and booking agencies, and so on. These agreements designate a basic union “scale” wage that the companies must pay to musicians at a minimum, and provide for employer contributions to the AFM health and pension funds.

The AFM has eight Texas chapters. The San Antonio local is Musicians’ Society of San Antonio, Local 23

In summary

We understand and appreciate that this is an extremely difficult time for all involved. We are deeply gratified that our audience is continuing to purchase tickets and are eager to hear our great Orchestra performing on stage at the Tobin, Majestic Theatre, and across our community this season. While recent events might make some contemplate their ongoing generosity for the organization, the reality is that we need everyone’s support now more than ever.

If you have any comments or questions that are not answered above, or would like to be in touch with us about how you can help, please email info@sasymphony.org. Thank you for your support of the San Antonio Symphony.

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