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After hours of negotiations Monday, musicians and Philharmonic fail to reach a deal

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Musicians picketed in front of the Fort Wayne Embassy Theatre Friday night, the first of their strike against Philharmonic management over wages and the number of performances.

After roughly five hours of negotiations Monday afternoon, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and its musicians' association failed to reach an agreement.

The musicians have been on strike since last week, having been operating without a contract since September. The decision to strike amid a failure to reach a deal on salaries and other matters caused the cancellation of popular holiday concert.

On Monday, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic was placed on the American Federation of Musicians International Unfair List for the second time in three years.

The request was made by the local musicians association president, Samuel Gnagey, following the association’s decision to go on strike.

In 2020, the Philharmonic was placed on the list after attempting to schedule concerts with traveling musicians, while Philharmonic musicians were furloughed due to the pandemic.

The International Unfair List serves as a signal to others in the industry that management does not treat musicians fairly.

Musicians met with management Monday to negotiate a contract.

The fulltime philharmonic musicians are asking for a 46-percent raise, which would come to just over $32,000 a year, and management is offering an 11.5-percent raise to about $25,000.

The amount proposed by management would not bring the musicians to pre-pandemic pay rates of about $26,000

Ella Abbott is a multimedia reporter for 89.1 WBOI. She is a strong believer in the ways audio storytelling can engage an audience and create a sensory experience.