Management Says Pittsburgh Symphony $20M In Debt, Musicians Strike

Sep 30, 2016

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra management asked musicians to take a 15 percent pay cut to recoup more than $20 million of debt, prompting a strike Friday.
Credit Michael Sahaida / Wikipedia

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians are on strike after unanimously rejecting calls for a 15 percent pay cut, changes to their pension plan and staffing cuts they say management is proposing.

Management says the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is more than $20 million in debt, leading them to ask musicians to take the pay cut that prompted a strike. Union members also are balking at pension changes and unspecified staffing cuts they say management proposed.

The union says the consequences of those cuts would be "severe and immediate" and result in musicians leaving and an inability to attract top-notch players. They began striking Friday.

Symphony management didn't immediately respond to request for comment.

The musicians have agreed to concessions in the past, most recently a nearly 10 percent pay cut in 2011.

Symphony President Malia Tourangeau said last month the orchestra is losing $1.2 million for its Broadway series because its contract with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is expiring along with a donor's contributions.

The orchestra is projecting a nearly $1.6 million deficit this season.