The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

State News

January 19, 2013

Indy symphony has a lot riding on $5M fund drive

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra could fall short of the millions it says it needs to fulfill a contract it negotiated with musicians after a five-week lockout last fall.

The symphony reported Tuesday that it had raised $3.2 million of the $5 million it set as a fundraising goal. That raises the possibility that the group could have to reopen negotiations with its musicians, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal.

Under a deal between the symphony and musicians, a five-year contract is to kick in if the symphony raises $5 million during a three-month campaign that is scheduled to end Feb. 3. The $5 million target is almost as much as the symphony raises in a typical year.

"We're going to need a lot of hard effort to get there," said Martha Lamkin, president of the ISO board.

Lamkin expressed confidence the symphony would reach the goal. The symphony is still processing hundreds of contributions, and the organization has not included a $500,000 matching donation in the total, she said.

If the group falls short of the goal, negotiators could be forced to reopen contract talks. Another option allows symphony officials to lower the goal if they don't think they will reach it but are comfortable with what they've raised, said Rick Graef, lead negotiator for the American Federation of Musicians Local 3 union, which represents more than 70 symphony musicians.

"They reserve the right to basically call off that dollar amount cap," Graef said. "They can say $3 million is enough, $4 million is enough."

The lockout began in early September after previous contracts expired and ISO officials told the union they couldn't afford to continue paying musicians at their current rates.

The five-year agreement calls for cutting starting pay from $78,000 a year to $53,000, then gradually restoring it to $70,000 by 2017. It would achieve that savings largely by reducing the number of weeks the orchestra performs and using outside performers, who are less expensive, for the remaining shows.

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