The musicians of the Seattle Symphony could become the next group of US orchestral players to face a work stoppage after voting on and approving a 'strike authorisation' yesterday.

The Seattle Symphony and Opera Players' Organization (SSOPO) has been negotiating with both the Symphony and Opera managements since the summer on a new collective bargaining agreement. In a statement on its website, the SSOPO explained that the latest contract offer from management calls for a 15 per cent reduction in overall player compensation over the 2012–13 season. This proposed reduction comes after years of financial concessions made by the musicians, said the SSOPO, noting that players had saved the Symphony more than $9.6m since 2005, not including the savings resulting from musicians' increased share of healthcare costs.

Seattle Symphony cellist David Sabee said: 'The Seattle Symphony is one of the highest earned income-producing orchestras in the country and is forecasted to again have a balanced budget in the 2012–13 season. We are proud of the contribution our past concessions have made toward balancing the budget, and see no reason that continued pay cuts should be necessary.'