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Judge plans to approve Philly Orchestra labor deal

October 27, 2011

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PHILADELPHIA—A federal bankruptcy judge says he plans to approve a new collective bargaining agreement between the financially troubled Philadelphia Orchestra and its musicians union.

The four-year contract was ratified about two weeks ago by players and the Philadelphia Orchestra Association board. It takes effect next week.

At a hearing Wednesday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Eric Frank said he would approve the deal.

According to reports, the terms of the new contract call for shrinking the number of players from 105 to 95 through retirements and attrition and for cutting salaries about 15 percent. The minimum salary for Philadelphia Orchestra musicians is currently about $125,000 a year.

The contract also calls for moving musicians' pensions to a defined contribution plan from the current defined benefit plan.