BALTIMORE — As Baltimore Symphony Orchestra musicians navigate a contract dispute with the organizations management in the face of severe financial issues, a salvo was offered to help the players remained insured through their current lock out.
Medical and dental benefits will be provided to BSO musicians through July and August thanks to contributions from the BSO Board of Directors and donors, the symphony said in a statement released Thursday. Life insurance benefits for musicians had already been extended through the lockout. Long-term disability coverage is being negotiated for now, but musicians already on long-term disability have those benefits extended as well.
“The Board of Directors and management greatly appreciate and value the members of our orchestra. This has been an extraordinarily difficult time for the Baltimore Symphony, and we are glad to continue providing health insurance for our musicians during the ongoing negotiations this summer as we work to reach agreement on a new contract,” stated BSO President and CEO Peter Kjome. “We are deeply grateful to members of the Board and other friends of the BSO for supporting this important effort.”
The BSO is in the midst of a labor lockout as the musicians union and symphony management cannot agree to terms of a new contract. The symphony is in dire financial straights, according to management, and cost cutting moves were taken, including cutting the BSO’s season from a year-round, 52-week schedule to a 40-week schedule. All upcoming summer performances were canceled in early June. Musicians and supporters have said the move has degraded the organization from a “world class” symphony to a “part-time regional orchestra.”
Emergency funds for the BSO were approved by the General Assembly, but Governor Larry Hogan has threatened to withhold those funds in light of the organizations financial shortcomings.
The BSO is scheduled to open its 2019-20 season in September, resuming its schedule of performances and rehearsals.