St. Paul Chamber Orchestra musicians weigh new contract offer

Posted on: September 11, 2012

In Saturday’s (9/7) Star-Tribune (Minneapolis), Graydon Royce writes, “The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has released a new contract offer that it will make to musicians on Monday. In a summary, Dobson West, president of the orchestra, describes the proposal as a ‘significant stretch for the Society and its donors.’ The offer boosts minimum salaries from the previous proposal, reduces the size of the permanent orchestra and creates a special retirement program for musicians 55 and older. … The proposal assumes the same number of concerts that are performed now and ‘in order to accomplish this result, our proposal includes contracting with musicians for 36 weeks.’ This is significant because the previous proposal guaranteed only 15 to 20 weeks of work for the musicians, prompting some outsiders to criticize the SPCO for creating a part-time orchestra. The wage proposal would create two tiers of guaranteed annual minimum salaries—$62,500 for current musicians, and $50,000 for new players. The higher figure compares to a current guarantee of $73,732—in other words a reduction of about 15 percent. The size of the orchestra would shrink under management’s offer, to ‘approximately 28 musicians’ from 34. … The two sides are scheduled to talk on Monday and Tuesday.”

Posted September 11, 2012