St. Paul Chamber Orchestra musicians hold rally as second deadline passes

Posted on: October 17, 2012

In Wednesday’s (10/17) St. Paul Pioneer Press (Minnesota), Kathy Berdan writes, “Musicians of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra held a lunchtime rally in downtown St. Paul’s Rice Park on Tuesday, Oct. 16—the day of the deadline set by management in a contract dispute.  After salary talks reached an impasse last week, SPCO management set Tuesday as the date it wanted musicians to accept its latest proposal. Though their contract expired Sept. 30, the musicians have continued to perform, and Tuesday’s ‘Don’t Stop the Music’ rally was aimed at keeping scheduled SPCO concerts from being canceled, according to the musicians’ news release. Salaries are at the core of the negotiations, with management asking for a 15 percent cut and a reduction in the number of musicians in the orchestra. The musicians have countered with several offers that have been rejected, including an offer Monday to play concerts for less money while negotiations continue, the musicians said. … Carole Mason-Smith, chair of the SPCO musicians’ negotiation committee, said in a release Tuesday, ‘We have offered solutions that would save the SPCO, but management continues to dismiss them.’ SPCO president Dobson West said late Tuesday afternoon, ‘What we have told them is we cannot afford to play and talk under our current contract, which is adding to our deficit every day.’ ”

Posted October 17, 2012