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Ratification of a One-Year Contract

In December 2022, the Grand Rapids Symphony (GRS) and the Grand Rapids Federation of Musicians (AFM Local 56) ratified a one-year extension of our current two-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA) which was set to expire August 31, 2023. 

Features of the contract extension, which will begin September 1, 2023, include a 3% salary increase, upgrading of two per-service musician contracts, and establishing a committee to create the framework for the implementation of a GRS Diversity Fellowship.

GRSMA’s Negotiation Committee co-chairs Chris Martin ( and Jack Latta ( made this statement in last month’s GRS press release. “The musicians of the Grand Rapids Symphony are pleased that we have achieved a positive result for the 2023-24 season. We're looking forward to focusing on sharing our amazing music with our community and redoubling our efforts to share why the Grand Rapids Symphony is an integral and necessary part of making West Michigan such a special place to live.”

In addition to thanking co-chairs Chris Martin and Jack Latta for their work and leadership for this extended contract, GRSMA extends our appreciation to the rest of the 2022 Negotiation Committee: Jacob Cameron, Adam Liebert, Andrew Plaisier, Will Preece, Kristen Shoup, and Eric Tanner. 

GRSMA and the Negotiating Committee would also like to thank ISCOM counsel Kevin Case for his invaluable expertise and support during the negotiating process.

Grand Rapids Federation of Musicians President Bennie Keys reports that "Local 56 is pleased with the ratification of the musicians' contract with the Grand Rapids Symphony for the 2023-24 season. We found the bargaining process to be positive and respectful, and we look forward to seeing the continued growth of the GRS." (

GRS Board Chairperson Luis Avila stated that ”The Board of Directors has unanimously approved a one-year extension to the agreement with our musicians' union that is both fiscally responsible and ensures that the Symphony's tradition of musical excellence will continue. We are excited to be able to support our talented musicians in this way.” (

With our CBA in place for the 2023-24 season, GRSMA recognizes the wisdom of having settled our bargaining early since the GRS is in a transitional stage. On December 31, 2022, Luis Avila’s term as GRS Board chair ended and Mary Tuuk Kuras officially retired as GRS President/CEO. (Link to Aloha: Farewell) Renee Tabben became GRS Board Chairperson effective January 1, 2023, and Chuck Frayer, Immediate Past GRS Board Chairperson, has been appointed Interim President/CEO. (Link to Aloha: Hello) A GRS President/CEO Search Committee (which includes GRSMA representatives Paul Austin, Christine Golden, and Kristen Shoup) has been in place since summer 2022 and is working with the search firm Arts Consulting Group, with interviews occurring soon so that the next President/CEO of the GRS will be named and in place by this summer.

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