The board of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra unanimously approved Friday an agreement between players and management to end a nearly 22-week strike - the longest walkout in the history of major U.S. symphonies.
The pact was announced Thursday night after negotiators met for more than 12 hours in Gov. William Donald Schaefer's Baltimore office. While details of the contract were not released pending ratification by the 96 musicians on Saturday, both sides appeared satisfied with the four-year contract.Player negotiator Charles Underwood said by the third and fourth year of the pact, BSO salaries would be "competitive" with comparable orchestras in other cities.
The base average salary in the last contract was $700 weekly and the initital demand in the 1988 negotiations was for $1,000 by the last year of the new pact.
Officials said if players accept the accord, the symphony's first concert could be scheduled Thursday.
Leonard Leibowitz, a lawyer for the players, said "I think everyone is very anxious to get back and make some music."
Negotiations broke off Sept. 23 when the BSO's 96 musicians rejected management's salary offer. Musicians said the symphony was flush from a $40 million fund-raising drive and could afford to pay players salaries comparable with other orchestras.
But BSO management said the $40 million, which included state funding, was the minimum amount needed to keep the symphony afloat after years of financial hardship.