Fourth concert canceled as San Francisco Symphony strike continues

Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:41am EDT
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By Ronnie Cohen

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The San Francisco Symphony on Saturday canceled its fourth performance since musicians went on strike this week, as management and the orchestra players' union pressed on with federally mediated contract talks.

Both sides said the marathon negotiations were aimed at reaching a labor pact before the 103 musicians are scheduled to leave next week for an East Coast tour featuring recitals at Carnegie Hall in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington.

But with no settlement yet, management canceled performances scheduled for Saturday night and Sunday afternoon of Mahler's Ninth Symphony, symphony spokesman Oliver Theil said.

The strike, which began when the musicians boycotted a Wednesday rehearsal, forced the symphony to cancel two shows earlier in the week.

Symphony management and union representatives met with a federal mediator for bargaining sessions on Thursday and Friday that lasted 13 hours and 11 hours, respectively, and returned to the bargaining table Saturday afternoon for yet another lengthy session, Theil said.

Neither side would comment on Saturday about the progress of talks except to say they were continuing to work toward a new three-year contract.

"Talks are ongoing," said musicians' spokesman Nathan Ballard.

"I wouldn't want to speculate as to the progress of the negotiations, because I'm not there. But they're working very hard to reach an accord by tomorrow (Sunday), which would be in time to save next week's tour," Theil told Reuters.   Continued...