The Musicians’ Union has rejected the best and final contract offer from the Honolulu Symphony, the symphony’s governing board said in a statement this evening.
“We are deeply saddened and disappointed that agreement could not be reached,” said Kimberly Miyazawa Frank, chairwoman of the Honolulu Symphony Society. “At the same time, we know the clock is ticking on this reorganization. Remaining in a prolonged state of limbo, without a collaborative, good faith effort to create a sustainable symphony organization, depletes our momentum and ability to move forward with a plan.”
The society presented the union with a revised collective bargaining agreement in April.
But the union refused to meet until June 30, and then said it would accept nothing less than the current $8-million agreement for two years, Miyazawa Frank said.
The society countered with “best and final” offer to pay half of the musicians’ medical benefits.
Jonathan Parrish, a spokesperson for the union and co-vice chairman of the Orchestra Committee, disputed Miyazawa Frank’s claim that the union had ceased negotiating. He said the union officials contacted the society after Friday’s meeting to reiterate that they were willing to continue negotiations on a new contract.
He also said the symphony society’s claim that musicians would retain their current rate of pay is “misleading,” since cuts in performance schedule would nonetheless result in a 92 percent reduction in their annual salary.
Since filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December, the board has developed a reorganization plan that is “sustainable” for a city the size of Honolulu, Miyazawa Frank said.
“We have studied not-for-profit symphony organizations in other communities in the U.S., particularly those with similar demographics, and discovered the wide variety of ways these organizations fulfill similar missions,” Miyazawa Frank said.