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Sign up for one of our email newsletters. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said he's “optimistic” the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and its musicians union can soon reach an amicable contract settlement to resolve a strike now in its fourth...

Peduto, Fitzgerald step in to mediate Pittsburgh symphony strike

Sign up for one of our email newsletters. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said he's “optimistic” the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and its musicians union can soon reach an amicable contract settlement to resolve a strike now in its fourth...

Peduto, Fitzgerald step in to mediate Pittsburgh symphony strike

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.


Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said he's “optimistic” the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and its musicians union can soon reach an amicable contract settlement to resolve a strike now in its fourth week.

Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto have offered to help mediate the deadlock and have had discussions with both sides in recent weeks.

“We're just trying to bring folks together,” Fitzgerald said on Tuesday. “We'll see what we can do.”

Peduto said he met with both sides before the strike began on Sept. 30 and has had email conversations with PSO and union leaders in subsequent weeks. He plans another meeting with the groups this week.

“(Musicians) are willing to concede on some of the points, but they want the size of the symphony and the salaries to remain the same,” the mayor said.

Union members have said reductions in compensation and the number of musicians would deter PSO from attracting and retaining top talent necessary for a world-class organization.

PSO management has proposed a 15 percent salary reduction, from a base salary of $107,239 to $91,153. Management said a wage reduction is necessary to stave off a projected $20.4 million deficit over the next five years, a crisis that could force the symphony to close by next year.

The two sides have agreed to retain a neutral financial expert to review symphony finances.

Peduto said the PSO, more than a century old, survived the city's “darkest days” when industry collapsed and shouldn't be forced to close now that the city is growing. He said the city must do everything possible to keep the doors open and preserve a valuable cultural asset.

“I think — if the union is willing to make some concessions at least in the areas of benefits, and the administration is willing to understand that issues such as the size and the salary are the primary issues — that both sides might be able to give a little, and we can get to a compromise,” Peduto said.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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