The Minnesota Orchestra is cancelling concerts through April 27 over stalled negotiations with its union musicians.
The two have been negotiating a new contract for a year, but for the past 11 months the union has apparently not been willing to talk, according to a news release from the orchestra. Orchestra officials are waiting for the musicians to come to the table with a counterproposal that helps the orchestra "resolve (its) financial challenges," said Minnesota Orchestra Board Chairman Jon Campbell.
"It is confounding that over the last 11 months the union has neither been willing to suggest a proposal of their own nor accept ours,” Campbell said in a written statement.
Background: Contract talks being overseen by a federal mediator kicked off last April 12. In January, the orchestra board agreed to conduct a joint financial analysis requested by the musicians to verify the orchestra's finances, which has apparently tied up talks. Neither side can agree to the terms of the analysis.
The Minnesota Orchestra's current contract offer gives musicians an average pay package of $119,000 — salary $89,000 with $30,000 in benefits. That's a 30 percent pay cut for most musicians under the current pact. The deal also includes 10 weeks vacation and 21-hour work week.