While the Philadelphia Orchestra Association's chapter 11 case continues in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Philadelphia, talks with the musicians' union pick up this weekend in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where the orchestra spends part of the summer each year.
George H. Cohen, the chief of federal mediators from Washington, D.C., won't be there this time. He's concluded that as long as neither side is willing to budge on the pension dispute, there's no point in his continued presence, according to sources.
The Association still wants to end its participation in the American Federation of Musicians' defined benefit pension and move musicians to a defined contribution plan. The national union, fearing that the idea will spread to other U.S. orchestras, is putting considerable muscle into the fight.