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New contract approved for Los Angeles Philharmonic

California residents who follow national orchestral news know that reaching a contract agreement is not always easy. When management and musicians cannot agree on salaries, orchestra halls can wind up sitting empty and unused for months or longer. Fortunately, the Los Angeles Philharmonic seems to have found a way to avoid that conflict.

The Philharmonic's musicians and its union recently accepted a new four-year contract. Under the new terms, the musicians' minimum salary will be hiked up to $154,336 in the next four years. The orchestra's old contract required a minimum salary of $148,700.

According to the terms of the contract, musicians' pay will increase by less than 1 percent each year over the next four years to reach the new minimum salary. In total, the minimum pay will be raised by less than 4 percent.

Working in the Philharmonic's favor is the fact that it has managed to flourish amid a strained economy. In the three years following the recession, the orchestra posted a budget surplus of nearly $29 million. Other orchestras across the country have not been so fortunate.

While the prosperity of the orchestra likely played a role in the smooth transition to a new contract for musicians, no contract can be successful without proper attention to detail by someone knowledgable of contract law. Whether it is a business signing a new deal with a vendor or an entertainer signing a new employment contract, having a legal representative ensure that the contract is air tight goes a long way toward keeping the negotiation process moving toward a favorable resolution for all parties.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "L.A. Phil musicians' base pay to reach $154,336 under new contract," Mike Boehm, Sept. 16, 2013

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