SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield Symphony Orchestra today announced that a proposed 2021-22 season will likely be cancelled if a labor agreement is not reached by October 1. The statement is as follows:
Failure of the musician’s union to reach a labor agreement with the SSO by October 1, 2021 will likely result in the cancellation of a partial 2021-22 season. The SSO Board and management established October 1, 2021 as the reasonable date after which it would be unrealistic to organize concerts, secure dates, engage all of the elements of a program and undertake the significant marketing necessary to hold a symphonic concert season.
Union representatives received the SSO’s most recent offer for a labor agreement on September 9 and the SSO requested a response to the offer by last Wednesday, September 15 to no avail. Only early this morning, literally in the middle of the night, and as the union announces the formation of a competing organization that will host a free concert, has the union responded to SSO’s final offer of two weeks ago. We regret that the union’s counter offer is substantially the same offer as many weeks ago, without meaningful movement. Our most recent offer included acceptance of the union’s demand for a contract that would extend through the 2022-23 season, as well as substantial pay rate increase for both seasons, while still allowing for the SSO to further develop a viable plan for the coming seasons and beyond.
The plan announced by the Musicians of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (MOSSO) to host a free concert at Symphony Hall with some of the musicians from the SSO will further muddy the waters and appears designed to create confusion among the concert-going public. To be clear, MOSSO is not the SSO and these efforts clearly indicate that the union would rather avoid a negotiated settlement that leads to a 2021-22 season.
It appears MOSSO is intent on forming its own orchestral organization and competing with the SSO, which will result in splintering the already limited symphonic orchestra audience and donor base. The SSO remains committed to working with the union and the musicians, and the community at large with one voice in sustaining a resident orchestra in Springfield. With the formation of MOSSO representing a competing organization and hosting their own concert, this only diminishes the chances of resolving the contract by October 1 and would likely result in the cancelling of the upcoming SSO season.
We continue to hope for a resolution prior to October 1, which would allow us to prepare for this current season, and also to begin planning for the 2022-23 season.
Springfield Symphony Orchestra