The Austin Federation of Musicians, AFM Local 433, is pleased to announce that The Austin Opera Orchestra’s Collective Bargaining Agreement for the next three years was ratified by The Orchestra Members, Austin Opera Management, and The Austin Federation of Musicians in early November. Initial research by AFM Trustee, Steven Begnoche began in early April. Preparatory meetings with The Austin Opera Orchestra Committee, Committee Chairperson, Robert Cannon, AFM Local 433 Negotiator, Aaron Lack, and AFM Trustee, Steven Begnoche were held at The Austin Federation of Musicians offices on East Ben White Blvd. in early June. Negotiating meetings with Austin Opera Management commenced in late June at the Austin Opera offices. Multiple remote consultations with AFM Symphonic Services Division Negotiator, Jane Owen, yielded guidance and insight into national industry trends throughout the negotiations.
The research and discussions of The Committee resulted in multiple improvements in working conditions that were proposed in negotiations and then achieved in this new agreement. New policies on discrimination, harassment and other types of misconduct were agreed upon and enacted. Yearly increases in pay were established that are greater than in the previous agreement. These increases are also above the national average according to The Symphonic Services Division of The AFM.
Many thanks to Austin Opera Management members, General Director & CEO, Annie Burridge, Director of Artistic Operations, Nathan DePoint, and Orchestra Manager, Beverly Frittelli. Gratitude is due to AFM Symphonic Services Division Negotiator, Jane Owen for her tireless commitment to the negotiating process. The Union Office would especially like to thank the Members of The Austin Opera Orchestra Committee: Chairperson and Principal Trumpet, Robert Cannon, Orchestra Steward and Cellist, Shawn Sanders, Concertmaster Emeritus, Vincent Frittelli, Principal Viola, Ames Asbell, Principal Violin II, Esther Sanders, Assistant Principal Viola, Daniel Gee Cordova. Their commitment and work for the benefit of all of the orchestra members was exemplary.
By Aaron Lack, Local 433 Member and Negotiator