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Home » Orchestra News » Minnesota Orchestra Lockout Ends at 16 Months

Minnesota Orchestra Lockout Ends at 16 Months


On January 14, musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra ratified a new CBA that brings to an end the devastating 16-month lockout that canceled the entire 2012-2013 season and half of the current season. The new contract goes into effect February 1 and the first performances will take place soon after.

Musicians agreed to a 15% reduction to base and overscale salaries in the first year, followed by modest increases in the second two years, bringing base salaries to $102,284 by the final year. This agreement keeps Minnesota Orchestra in the top 10 highest paid orchestras in the US. “Keeping our salaries in the top 10 was a critical issue for us, as it allows us to attract and retain the finest musicians in the country, and to continue building the tradition of excellence that has been cultivated by the community over the past 110 years,” said cellist and negotiator Marcia Peck of Local 30-73 (Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN).

Under the new contract, musicians will contribute significantly more toward health care. The board and management agreed to revenue sharing of endowment returns, if the returns average more than 10% over three years.

The size of the orchestra as designated in the bargaining agreement will remain at 95. However, due to unfilled positions as a result of musicians who left during the lockout, the core group of contracted musicians will grow gradually over the course of the three-year agreement, with a guaranteed minimum of 77 in the first year, increasing to 84 by the end of the contract. Remaining positions will be filled by substitute and extra musicians as repertoire requires.

Musicians accepted several changes in work rules that will give management more flexibility in scheduling concerts and rehearsals. The contract allows for participation in chamber music and outreach engagements without additional pay, New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day concerts, concerts that last up to two-and-a-half hours, additional weekend services, and changes to the way overtime is calculated.

The orchestra recommitted to making classical music the primary focus of the organization, alleviating musician concerns that pops concerts were programmed more frequently in recent years.

To begin to heal the deep divide between musicians and the board, leadership from both sides will meet quarterly. While Jon Campbell extended his tenure as board president through the lockout, a new president will soon be elected.

The musicians self-presented concerts throughout the lockout and had recently announced an upcoming series. Musicians and management are now working to see if those programs can be rolled into what remains of Minnesota Orchestra’s 2013-2014 season.

“Musicians are pleased that we have come to a solution with our board, and we are ready to work with them to begin the hard work that lies ahead,” comments clarinetist and negotiator Tim Zavadil, also of Local 30-73. “We are anxious to start performing for our community at home in Orchestra Hall once again. We know that there is a great love for this orchestra throughout the community, and we are confident that this community will, in fact, continue to support world-class music in the Twin Cities.”

The Minnesota Orchestra musicians, who collectively lost several million dollars in salaries and benefits over the course of the lockout, are deeply grateful for the support of their community and AFM colleagues.

“The musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra have shown the world an unprecedented level of personal resilience and sacrifice for an honorable cause—the preservation of inspirational music,” says Local 30-73 President Brad Eggen. “My pride for these dedicated artists and the uncompromising support of the labor and music community is beyond expression.”

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