Symphony Nova Scotia and the Atlantic Federation of Musicians reach five-year collective agreement

Symphony Nova Scotia is delighted to announce that it has signed a new five-year collective agreement with its musicians, represented by the Atlantic Federation of Musicians.

The contract was reached during two days of negotiations on February 3 and 4, 2015, and was ratified on February 14. The orchestra’s current collective agreement, signed in 2013, was set to expire in August of this year.

The new agreement includes increases in health care coverage, and a salary increase of 3% in the first year. The second year will launch the orchestra’s first-ever summer season, comprising two weeks of additional paid work outside the regular 33-week September-May contract, and the following two years will see a 2% salary increase. The final year will give a 3% salary increase or the addition of another week to the orchestra’s season, at the Symphony’s discretion.

“I’m so delighted that we were able to reach this agreement, and that we were able to do it so quickly,” says Symphony Nova Scotia CEO Chris Wilkinson, who was part of the bargaining team.

“By getting this finalized so early, we’re all able to work together and focus on our joint priorities of performing great music for our audiences and serving our community through our education and outreach programs.”

The negotiating team was made up of eight members including orchestra management, the Board, and musicians, represented by the Atlantic Federation of Musicians, Local 571.

”As a result of productive, positive contract negotiations between AFM Local 571 and Symphony Nova Scotia, we are pleased to support a new collective agreement,” says Tom Roach, President of the Atlantic Federation of Musicians, Local 571.

“This five year agreement provides a level of stability that will serve our symphony musicians well and that, in turn, will benefit our community and symphony audiences. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our negotiating committee, as well as Symphony Nova Scotia’s Board of Directors and CEO Chris Wilkinson, for their dedicated work in negotiating this agreement. Most importantly, we extend our thanks to the musicians of Symphony Nova Scotia for their professionalism and commitment.”

“We are very pleased that the negotiations went so smoothly,” says Symphony Nova Scotia Principal Bassist Max Kasper, who served as one of the musicians’ representatives.

“Both sides were respectful at the table and committed to a co-operative and creative process. Simply put, our goal was to address the monetary concerns of the orchestra while the Board was committed to maintaining fiscal responsibility. We believe we reached the optimal solution with this new five-year agreement. It will bring stability to the organization that will allow us to engage in long-range planning, and also address some of those monetary concerns up front.”

Over the five years covered in the agreement, the wage increases represent a base salary boost from $30,900 for 33 weeks to $36,173 for 35 weeks. By 2020, the salary changes will have increased the orchestra’s annual expenses by over $200,000.

“Improving our musicians’ salaries is one of our ongoing goals, and with our strong ticket sales and community support over the past several seasons, we believe we’re in a position to offer these increases,” says Wilkinson.

“Though the agreement will mean higher expenses on the salary side, we hope to offset those costs with new opportunities for increased ticket sales and sponsorship. In particular, I’m very excited about launching a summer season – it’s something we’ve wanted to implement for years, and I know it’ll be very welcome to our audiences.”

The new agreement will take effect on September 1, 2015, and will extend to August 31, 2020.

About Symphony Nova Scotia
Symphony Nova Scotia is Nova Scotia’s orchestra. Each year more than 50,000 audience members (including 15,000 young music lovers) join us in communities across Nova Scotia for performances of the music they love – from baroque and classical to pop and rock and folk. Under the inspirational leadership of Music Director Bernhard Gueller, Symphony Nova Scotia is one of the most broadcast orchestras in the country, with over 20 commercial releases and multiple East Coast Music Awards. Visit to learn more, listen online, or get tickets today!

For more information, please contact:

Heidi MacPhee
Director of Communications and Marketing, Symphony Nova Scotia
902.421.1300 x226

[email protected]