Contract talks at an impasse, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra locks out musicians

Posted on: October 22, 2012

In Sunday’s (10/21) Minneapolis Star Tribune, Graydon Royce reports, “As of 6 p.m., members of both world-class orchestras that call Minnesota home were locked out of their concert halls in contract disputes. Union players at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra did not vote on an offer from management, and the board of directors shut the doors and canceled concerts through Nov. 4. In a lockout, players may not report for work and they receive no pay. Musicians at the Minnesota Orchestra were locked out Oct. 1 after the union unanimously voted to reject what management had characterized as its final offer.… ‘After 10 months of negotiations, the Union and the Society agree that the SPCO faces a significant financial challenge, but the Union continues to reject that a significant reduction in the cost of the contract must be part of the solution,’ said SPCO President Dobson West in an e-mail statement Sunday night. ‘As a result, we are not close to an agreement.’ … ‘We’re very disappointed and very perplexed that management has decided to take this step,’ said Carole Mason Smith, head of the musicians’ negotiating committee, on Sunday night. ‘We made offers to continue to talk and play that were rejected and we’re sorry the community has to suffer like this.’ … St. Paul’s contract expired June 30, although a clause provided for most terms to extend for 90 days. After the last bargaining session, on Oct. 12, management indicated it wanted a vote on its final offer. Last week, it notified players that they would be locked out if they did not agree to the terms by Sunday.” Brad Eggen, president of the Twin Cities Musicians Union, “said the union has offered five dates for negotiations in November, but nothing has been scheduled.”

Posted October 22, 2012