The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

January 14, 2014

Minnesota Orchestra lockout settled

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Orchestra and union musicians ratified a new contract Tuesday, ending a bitter, 15-month lockout that saw renowned Finnish maestro Osmo Vanska quit as conductor last fall.

The three-year agreement takes effect Feb. 1, the two sides said in a joint statement. The orchestra's first performances back on the Orchestra Hall stage in downtown Minneapolis are expected in early February.

"This ratified agreement reflects that both the musicians and the board made concessions on issues of importance to them, which was necessary in order to bring the organization together again," said Richard Davis, chair of management's negotiating team. "Our success now depends on our ability to move forward with positive spirit as one organization, and we are very pleased to begin this work with the musicians and to engage our audiences with music again."

Clarinetist Tim Zavadil, a negotiator for the musicians, said the musicians are ready to work with the orchestra's board "to begin the hard work that lies ahead."

"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," Zavadil said in the statement.

The musicians were locked out on Oct. 1, 2012, after refusing to accept deep salary cuts. As the impasse dragged on, Vanska made good on his threat to quit if the lockout wasn't resolved in time to save scheduled performances at Carnegie Hall in November 2013. Vanska had led the Minnesota Orchestra for a decade.

The new agreement cuts musicians' salaries 15 percent from 2012 levels in the contract's first year. Minimum base salaries over the three years of the contract will rise from $96,000 in the first year to $99,000 in the second year and $102,000 in the final year.

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