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SF Symphony Cancels East Coast Tour As Strike Drags On

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Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images)

Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — A scheduled East Coast tour was canceled Sunday after striking San Francisco Symphony musicians rejected a federal mediator’s proposal to resume playing concerts during a “cooling off” period, according to symphony officials.

The three-city East Coast tour, scheduled for March 20-23, had included performances at Carnegie Hall, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

The symphony has already canceled four concerts in San Francisco since musicians announced the strike on Wednesday.

The musicians said earlier this week that they were unhappy with a proposal by management that would include a pay freeze in the first year and 1 percent increases in the next two years.

Musicians say expensive instruments and the costs of living in the Bay Area hurt their ability to compete with other top orchestras.

Symphony officials said Sunday that their most recent proposal included a new minimum annual salary of $145,979 with annual increases of 1 percent and 2 percent.

The proposal also included a $74,000 maximum annual pension, 10 weeks paid vacation and full coverage health care plan options with no monthly premium contributions for most options. Additional compensation would include radio payments, over-scale and seniority pay, which raises the current average pay to more than $165,000, symphony officials said.

“We have negotiated in good faith since September, have shared volumes of financial information, and we have offered many different proposals that we had hoped would lead to a new agreement by this time,” said Brent Assink, the symphony’s executive director.

The symphony’s operating expenses have outpaced income for the past four years, and the orchestra has incurred an operating deficit, officials said.

Patrons with tickets to cancelled concerts can exchange them for another concert, donate their tickets or get a refund, officials said Sunday.

Information is available by calling the symphony’s box office at (415) 864-6000 or visiting online at http://www.sfsymphony.org.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)

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