Twin cities orchestra supporters express lockout concerns

Posted on: January 25, 2013

In Thursday’s (1/24) Star Tribune (Minneapolis), Graydon Royce writes, “With three high-profile labor lockouts continuing in Minnesota, Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, told an overflow crowd at his Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee meeting Wednesday that there is ‘an epidemic of lockouts, not just in Minnesota, but nationally.’ … ‘Legislation is being contemplated to prevent or disincentivize the probability of lockouts,’ he said. ‘But we will save that for another day.’ The hearing was intended to address lockouts in general, but statements from people affected by the Twin Cities’ two major orchestras dominated the session. Mark Thoson of the citizens’ group Save Our SPCO said that when a nonprofit entity accepts special status or grants paid for by tax revenues, ‘the state and the corporation have a duty to ensure that the benefits to the public are protected.’ … Doug Wright, speaking for Minnesota Orchestra musicians locked out since Oct. 1, repeated union positions that the lockout will have ‘lasting, devastating effects on the orchestra’ and leave Minnesota with a ‘third-class arts resource.’ … Michael Henson, orchestra president and CEO, repeated a management promise that the orchestra will sequester any state funds it receives and not use that money during contract negotiations.” The third lockout in the state is the 18-month dispute at the American Crystal Sugar firm.

Posted January 25, 2013