Minnesota Orchestra Offers Fourth Contract Proposal to Musicians' Union
The Minnesota Orchestra Board Negotiating Committee-aided by a coalition of community supporters-has issued its fourth contract proposal in the ongoing labor dispute with the Musicians' Union. The three-year offer includes an average annual salary of $104,500 and a signing bonus of $20,000 per musician. The Board has requested that the Musicians' Negotiating Committee present the offer to the musicians for a secret ballot before the proposal expires at noon on Monday, September 30.
"This proposal represents the best efforts of a coalition of partners in our community who have stepped forward to enable a contract resolution with musicians before September 30, and we ask the Union to consider it respectfully," said Board Negotiating Committee Chair Richard Davis. "It is a compromise that both softens the impact of concessions on musicians and brings our organization to a position that approaches sustainability by the end of the contract. We are grateful to the many leaders, private and community foundations, and individual supporters who have raised or committed to raise special funding to make this possible. We are offering it publicly because this is truly an offer from our community. We are offering it today because time is running out."
If adopted, the proposal would preserve the Orchestra's entire 2013-14 subscription season, which begins in October, for local audiences and would maintain two November performances at Carnegie Hall. Music Director Osmo Vänskä has said the Orchestra must rehearse the week of September 30 in order to appropriately prepare for the Carnegie Hall appearance.
Initially convened by the Carlson Family Foundation, 15 Minnesota foundations-including those of Carlson Companies, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo-have stepped forward to support a one-time bridge grant to enable a resolution in the long dispute. Foundation leaders have noted that their collective contribution does not represent a permanent increase in their funding commitments to the Minnesota Orchestra. "We consider this a unique offering, born of shared respect for the Orchestra and in recognition of so many Minnesotans committed to finding a solution," said Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Vice Chair Carlson Family Foundation. Extending the coalition further, the community-based symphonic support group SOS-Save Osmo has also committed to provide bridge funding.
Central tenets of the three-year proposal:
- The proposal delivers an average annual salary of $104,500 per musician over the life of the contract, as well as $33,000 in benefits per musician. (Salaries range from $89,000 to $150,500).
- In addition, musicians receive a one-time individual signing bonus of $20,000.
- The three-year contract includes a series of stepped concessions, beginning with an 18.6% reduction in year one (same rate SPCO musicians negotiated), 21.2% in year two and 25.0% in year three. Factoring in bonus pay, the average annual musician salary over three years results in a reduction of 17.7%.
- The proposal includes revenue sharing if the Orchestra exceeds its budget goals.
- Proposal includes a minimum of 10 weeks paid vacation.
In addition, President and CEO Michael Henson has volunteered to accept the same salary reduction musicians receive.