MN Orchestra members in Wayzata
MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Orchestra musicians unanimously rejected the latest offer from management, once again putting the orchestra's upcoming season in jeopardy.
The offer was released by the Minnesota Orchestra Board of Directors in late August. It entailed a 25% pay cut for the musicians--down from 34% cut offered in the board's previous proposal--and guaranteed a full 2013-2014 season.
The musicians met on Thursday morning in private and unanimously rejected the offer. They also unanimously voted to ask management and board members of the Orchestral Association to reconsider a proposal from a mediator.
"The musicians believe that the best way forward in this process is to listen to the only truly independent voice in this process," said Tim Zavadil, a member of the negotiating committee for orchestra musicians. "We believe that fighting for the future of this orchestra--which has been built over 110 years and is now a world-class destination orchestra--is the fight we have to fight."
Michael Henson, President and CEO of the Minnesota Orchestra, issued a statement regarding the musicians' vote:
"We are disappointed that the musicians have rejected our compromise proposal, which would have allowed our season to begin on time for concertgoers. If the players are not willing to accept this proposal, we ask them to respectfully step forward with one of their own. In 17 months of negotiations, they have never issued their own counterproposal.
"The board continues to support the mediation process, and we would be happy to sit down this afternoon with the musicians to mediate without preconditions. Unfortunately, the musicians are the party that will not come back to the bargaining table.
"It is important to note that the mediator's confidential proposal is not a contract proposal - it was only suggested as a means of getting musicians to come to the bargaining table. We believe musicians should willingly come back to the table immediately without preconditions so that we can resolve our real and deep financial issues, as outlined in the Financial Review released earlier this week. We remain ready to meet with musicians at any point to negotiate."
Minnesota Orchestra Music Director Osmo Vanska said musicians must be in rehearsal by September 30 to be prepared for two highly anticipated concerts at Carnegie Hall in November. Vanska said he would resign by September 9 if the lockout has not ended.
October 1 marks the one year anniversary of the lockout.
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