The Seattle Symphony and Seattle Symphony & Opera Players’ Organization reached a new agreement that enables musicians to maintain employment status while the orchestra is not performing. The Seattle Symphony previously announced all performances are either canceled or postponed through May 31, 2020 in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

On April 13, 2020, the Seattle Symphony received funding for a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a government stimulus program, enabling full-time staff and musicians to maintain employment status with the organization. Effective April 13, the program duration is 8 weeks and will conclude on June 7, 2020. The organization is awaiting clarification on guidelines from the SBA which will determine how much of the loan will be forgivable.

Prior to the PPP approval, several measures were put into effect from April 1 through April 13 to provide immediate financial relief for the organization to mitigate losses during the closure, including staffing modifications and salary adjustments for administrators whose roles support revenue-generating opportunities and aren’t directly related to event logistics. The musicians remained on payroll during this time without any alterations, and the parties had previously negotiated an agreement that included the musicians being on standby from April 13 through June 1. There have been no changes to healthcare benefits for anyone employed by the Seattle Symphony.

Effective April 13 through June 7, 2020 under this new program, the musicians and all full-time staff will be employed with reinstatement of full wages limited by the PPP’s salary cap. In the new agreement, the Seattle Symphony musicians, who are jointly employed by the Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera, will receive the equivalent of the Symphony’s share of base scale.

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