Fort Wayne orchestra, musicians in tough talks

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP): Negotiations for a new musicians contract aren't harmonious as the Fort Wayne Philharmonic starts its 70th season.

The orchestra's musicians union says its members voted unanimously authorize a strike if contract talks don't advance toward an agreement.

Musicians negotiator Dennis Fick says orchestra management has proposed cutting base salaries from about $27,000 to less than $17,000 and reducing from 44 to 27 the number of full-time musicians.

The orchestra is facing a $2 million budget deficit. Fick says management is directing too much of the spending cuts toward the musicians rather than in administration expenses.

Philharmonic president J.L. Nave says he's committed to reaching an agreement and is looking forward to Saturday's opening-night concert.