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New York Pops Strike Ends

December 24, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ A group of freelance musicians settled on a new contract with the New York Pops and ended a strike against the orchestra, the parties announced Wednesday.

The musicians will get a 16 percent wage increase over the next three years under the new contract. They had initially demanded a 30 percent pay raise over the same time period.

The deal came late Tuesday as a deadline for participation in a holiday tour to Japan approached, said Mark Ungemach, a spokesman for the Pops. The tour, scheduled to begin Dec. 28, will go ahead as originally planned.

Contract negotiations began last month, but broke down last week when the Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802, rejected a New York Pops proposal of a 13 percent wage hike, said Pops executive director Sue Unkenholz.

A four-day strike forced the cancellation of Pops performances at Carnegie Hall Friday and Saturday.

The New York Pops is made up of freelance musicians who perform at the group’s 15 or so shows a year. The Pops, founded and conducted by Skitch Henderson, are based at Carnegie Hall and play show tunes and standards by popular composers like George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and Leonard Bernstein.

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