Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

December 11, 2023

New Haven Symphony musicians approve potential strike as negotiations continue

PHOTO | COURTESY Matt Fried The New Haven Symphony Orchestra performs at Lyman Center at Southern Connecticut State University.

Musicians who perform for the New Haven Symphony Orchestra announced Friday that they have voted to authorize a strike after failing to meet an agreement with management over wages.

But they aren’t on strike yet, and more negotiations are scheduled.

The musicians have been negotiating with NHSO management since April 2022.

“It has been a slow, difficult process,” the group said, in the announcement.

The musicians assert that management’s wage offers to date have been “below even a cost-of-living increase.”  

Andrew Trombley, a musician and orchestra committee member, said Monday morning that musicians are not on strike, but the authorization still stands.

There are three negotiation sessions scheduled with management before the next performance, according to Trombley.

“If there are no meaningful discussions, job actions will be scheduled for the Messiah concerts on Dec. 16 and Dec. 17,” Trombley said. “We hope that it does not come to this, as the musicians wish nothing more than to perform and to share our craft with our community.” 

The musicians noted the NHSO in June 2022 received a $14 million gift from the estate of James D. English, but they asserted the gift, the largest in NHSO’s history, has “not been reflected in member wages.”

According to the musicians, their salaries have remained frozen since the 2022-2023 season. Under their last agreement, which covered 2018 to 2022, musician wages rose 6%, which they said is less than management’s increase.

“We, the musicians, wish nothing more than to continue providing excellent music for our community, but stagnating wages make it difficult for us to accept an engagement with the NHSO when we are offered work elsewhere,” the announcement states. 

Elaine C. Carroll, chief executive officer for the NHSO, said, "While NHSO is in the midst of a lengthy negotiation with AFM Local 400, our musicians are not on strike. Both sides are committed to continuing negotiations and NHSO performed its holiday concerts this weekend as scheduled.”

Carroll said NHSO is eager to reach an agreement. According to Carroll, the current proposal is for a total wage increase of 22% over four years, including an immediate 9% increase once the contract is finalized. In addition, a 14% increase in travel reimbursement has been mutually agreed upon, she said.

“Progress has been slow, but ongoing, over the course of many months,” Carroll said of the negotiations. “Substantial raises have been offered since the very beginning of the contract negotiations.”

Carroll asserted the offers are “competitive” and have exceeded raises that have been agreed to by major orchestras across the country this year. 

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF