ATLANTA (AP) -- A yearlong strike by the Atlanta Ballet orchestra ended just in time for the new season.
The 45 musicians approved a three-year contract on Monday that for the first time includes management contributions to a pension fund.
"The bottom line is that the musicians just really wanted to get back and play," said Andrew Cox, secretary-treasurer of the Atlanta Federation of Musicians.
The ballet opens its season Oct. 6 with "Romeo and Juliet" and had planned to hire musicians from the Czech Republic to fill in. Last year, the ballet used a replacement orchestra for its holiday production of "The Nutcracker."
The stalemate ended when the ballet agreed to pay 3 percent of each musician's salary -- about $7,000 -- into a pension fund in the second contract year.
The contribution grows to 4 percent the following year. The musicians had asked for 5 percent in the second year.
The contract also includes payments of $106 to $110 for a rehearsal or performance that requires three hours of work.
John McFall, artistic director and chief executive officer of the ballet, said he hopes the agreement will persuade the folk-pop duo Indigo Girls to resume plans for a March collaboration with the 71-year-old ballet.
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