Musicians to Be Allowed to Unionize

After three months of negotiations and the threat of a possible strike, the board of the Ventura County Symphony signed an agreement Thursday allowing its musicians to unionize.

"We will begin negotiations to achieve a collective bargaining agreement that will be recognized by the American Federation of Musicians," said Steve Thiroux, spokesman for the Ventura County Symphony Musicians.

The musicians had threatened to strike this weekend, when the symphony is scheduled to perform its final season concert at Oxnard Civic Auditorium, unless management allowed them representation by Musicians Union Local 581.

About 1,300 people are expected to attend the concert Saturday, said Karine Beesley, the symphony's executive director.

Beesley said the symphony's board of directors had not agreed to allow the musicians to unionize prior to Thursday because the board needed to clarify some portions of the agreement.

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