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Las Vegas Philharmonic, musicians union agree to 3-year deal

The Las Vegas Philharmonic will be in tune for the next three years — now that the orchestra’s musicians have approved and ratified a new collective bargaining agreement.

Philharmonic officials announced the new contract, which includes single-digit increases in base pay, in a Tuesday news release.

Although musicians ratified the agreement this month, the period it covers began last July 1 and ends June 30, 2018.

Negotiations began last April, but “it’s hard to find times in the summer when everyone can get together,” according to Stephen Caplan, the Philharmonic’s principal oboist, who chaired the orchestra’s negotiating committee.

“Once July (2015) came around, we were going under the terms of the old contract” until a new one was negotiated, Caplan explained in a telephone interview.

A change in musicians union leadership also impacted the negotiations.

Frank Leone, past president of Musicians Union Local No. 369 of the American Federation of Musicians, served on the negotiating committee alongside the seven-member musicians’ committee and three orchestra administration representatives, including Philharmonic president Jeri Crawford.

Crawford cited the three-year deal, “going from the traditional term of two years,” as “one of the most significant deal points of this contract,” she stated in an e-mail interview.

Caplan agreed, describing the three-year contract as “a matter of stability” that provides for the orchestra’s “sustained growth.”

In addition to increases in base pay, the contract provides increases in fringe benefits, including seniority pay, plus travel accommodations for orchestra members who don’t live in Southern Nevada.

The agreement also eliminates pay differences between rehearsals and concerts. As Caplan explained, “it’s just as hard to play a Debussy piece whether I’m wearing tails or not.”

Overall, the Philharmonic’s musicians were “very pleased” with the new contract, Caplain said.

“We’re all on the same page,” he said of the musicians and the Philharmonic’s administration. “We want to see the orchestra grow.”

Read more stories from Carol Cling at reviewjournal.com. Contact her at ccling@reviewjournal.com and follow @CarolSCling on Twitter.

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