MnOrch, SPCO, musicians to talk next weekby Euan Kerr, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Locked-out musicians and managements of both the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra have announced negotiation sessions for Jan. 2.
The Minnesota Orchestra management will meet with locked-out musicians on Wednesday. The date was arranged after management last week offered meetings on Jan. 5 and Jan. 9. Those dates didn't work out for musicians' representatives, and now arrangements are made for Jan. 2.
There have been no talks between the sides since musicians formally rejected a contract proposal which cut the average salary of a musician from $135,000 to $89,000. Management locked out players the following day, Oct. 1, and said it would not meet with musicians until they produced a counterproposal. Musicians said they would not do that until they received an independant financial analysis of the orchestra's finances.
Last week's offer of talks from management lifted the precondition of a counter offer.
The SPCO talks are sceduled for Wednesday and Thursday. The two sides in that dispute have not met formally since Nov. 8, two weeks after management locked out the musicians.
SPCO management, which recently announced a $900,000 deficit for last year, proposed a contract that cuts individual musician salaries by tens of thousands of dollars and reduces the size of the orchestra.
The musicians say they want to help with orchestra's financial problems, but believe the suggested cuts and a proposed buyout of older musicians will destroy the SPCO's signature sound.
In a significant change, both sides have agreed to keep details of the talks confidential.
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