PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — The Philly Pops musicians union is meeting virtually with Pops management on Wednesday after voting overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if necessary.

Philly Pops announced last month it will cease operations after the conclusion of the 2022-2023 season. The last show is scheduled for June.

SEE ALSO: The Philly Pops are going out of business at the end of the 2022-2023 season

During the announcement, Chief Operating Officer Karen Corbin said there was no doubt that COVID-19 played a major role in the decision.

“We weathered the storm. We continued to perform throughout the season. We had a full season last season. No one expected the sales numbers this season to be lower than last,” Corbin said.

But contract negotiations between the musicians’ union, the American Federation of Musicians, Local 77 and Pops management have reportedly been underway since August.

The union says 95% of Philly POPS members voted to authorize a strike if necessary to address what they call a “lack of transparency” from management prior to last month’s announcement.

“Since August, we’ve been trying to get Philly POPS management to negotiate a contract commitment. It’s been over 90 days since we gave them our last offer,” said Ellen Trainor, president of AFM Local 77. “After decades of loyal service to the POPS, these musicians are the Philly POPS. They are the same. There was no reason to illegally hide the truth from us while we were in active contract negotiations.”

The coach says union members have been waiting for answers to “dozens of key questions” about the Pope’s financial situation and future.

Corbyn released this statement to Action News ahead of Wednesday’s meeting: “In our CBA negotiations, we are actively addressing the concerns raised by local management, weighed against the significant economic challenges POPS has faced during the pandemic and its aftermath. Our seventh meeting is scheduled for tomorrow. We hope to reach a solution satisfactory to all parties.”

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