The long-running Minnesota Orchestra dispute ends
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
The long-running dispute between the musicians and management of the Minnesota Orchestra is over. After 15 months, which included a lockout, agreement has been reached which will allow concerts to resume next month.
The players will return to work on February 1 under the terms of a new three-year contract. Clauses within the new agreement include the musicians accepting a 15 per cent pay cut in the first year followed by raises in years 2 and 3 which result in a total pay cut of 10 percent over the term of the new contract. Players will also make a larger contribution to health care expenses.
One of the demands by the players, which has been met, was to ensure that the musicians' salaries stayed within the top 10 of US orchestras – this was felt to be important in attracting major musicians to work with the ensemble. (Minimum base salaries over the life of the contract are $96,824 in year 1, $99,008 in year 2 and $102,284 in year 3 – the final figure computes to £62,275 or €75,137.) The new agreement also allow the orchestra to expand from its current 77 players to 84.
The Minnesota Orchestra's music director Osmo Vänskä resigned on October 1 after having to pull out of two concerts scheduled for Carnegie Hall through lack of rehearsal. It's unclear whether he will return – the players clearly want him back.