Minnesota Orchestra Withdraws from Nov Carnegie Hall Concerts After Fourth Contract Rejection
Over the weekend, musicians rejected the Minnesota Orchestral Association's fourth proposal in the organization's long labor dispute, which included an annual salary of $104,500 over the life of a three-year contract, a revenue sharing opportunity and a $20,000 signing bonus for each musician, made possible through one-time special funding from Minnesota foundations and community support entities.
Subsequently, and after more than seventeen months of requests, the Association received its first counter-proposals from Union musicians today. The eleventh-hour proposals from the Union included one with an average annual salary reduction per musician of 4.7% over a three year period with a revision back to 2012 contract levels and another with a 6.7% reduction for one year. This contrasts with the Board's most recent proposal of an average 17.7 % reduction over three years including a one-time signing bonus of $20,000 to address three years of significant deficits and a projected depletion of the Orchestra's endowment by 2018.
"It is clear that this was less a good-faith negotiating effort and more an attempt to blunt criticism over the musicians' inability to come forth with a substantial solution to our financial challenges," said Board Chair Jon Campbell.
Minnesota Orchestra Music Director Osmo Vänskä outlined to Carnegie Hall management that musicians needed to be in rehearsals the week of September 30 in order to allow appropriate preparation time for the Orchestra's performances at the New York venue on November 2 and 3. In a letter last spring, Vänskä said that he would resign from the Orchestra if the ensemble did not perform these concerts.