Regina symphony and musicians sign deal

Players for the Regina Symphony Orchestra have reached a new five-year contract.

Players for the Regina Symphony Orchestra have reached a new five-year contract.

The deal was heralded as a triumph of amicable relations between musicians and management.

"In an era of worldwide musician strikes, management lockouts, bad publicity, and pay cuts, the Regina Symphony Orchestra management and musicians are pleased to announce that they have signed a retroactive 5-year contract, effective fall 2010," the RSO said in a news release Thursday. "Moreover, unlike many other orchestras’ recently signed contracts, this one did not include pay cuts or require musicians to make any other concessions."

Maxim Antoshin, the executive director of the RSO said the negotiations were completed in just three two-hour sessions.

"The whole process was very collaborative," Antoshin added. "It really felt as if we are a family."

The RSO also highlighted the fact that the negotiations were done without any lawyers.

"We decided to start without lawyers, and use them only if we couldn’t reach an agreement," Antoshin said, noting that management understood the musicians very well.

He added the orchestra's recent financial improvement made it easier to provide pay increases.

"Even a year ago, the management would have had nothing but pay cuts to offer," he said.

The musicians also spoke glowingly of the negotiation process.

"It did feel like we just sat down to do some housekeeping, without wasting any time on pointless confrontations," Jonathan Ward, chairman of the Players' Committee, said.

The new five-year contract will expire in May 2015, and guarantees musicians annual increases in pay of 2%, 2%, 4%, 3% and 3%.

The Regina Symphony Orchestra is entering is 104th season.