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MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Orchestra Board of Directors and musicians ratified a new collective bargaining agreement, which will go into effect on Feb. 1.

"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 Board Negotiating Chair Richard Davis. "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."

"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," said Clarinetist and musician negotiator Tim Zavadil. "We are anxious to start performing for our community at home in Orchestra Hall once again."

The terms of the three-year contract agreement include a 15 percent reduction to base and over scale salaries from 2012 levels in the contract's first year.

Minimum base salaries over the life of the contract start at $96,824 in year one, rising to $99,008 in year two and $102,284 in year three of the contract. Musicians have agreed to pay a significantly higher portion of their insurance costs.

"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," said Zavaldi.

The Minnesota Orchestra has agreed to add seven new members over the three year contract, which will increase the number of members from 77 to 84. The optimal size of the ensemble is 95 members.

The deal also includes revenue sharing, something orchestra management believes is likely a first in the U.S. The revenue sharing will be based on the performance of the orchestra's endowments. If the endowments average a 10 percent return over the three years of the contract, musicians are eligible to receive investment returns exceeding 10 percent up to a cap of 5 percent of their base salary for each year of the agreement.

Management significantly reduced the number of work rule changes it originally requested and musicians agreed to a series of innovative rule changes. The goal was to give the organization more flexibility in scheduling concerts and providing community outreach.

The changes include:

  • the ability to offer chamber music and outreach performances without additional pay;
  • an increase in the number of weekend rehearsals and concerts allowed;
  • the ability to offer New Year's Eve and/or New Year's Day concerts;
  • an increase in concert length up to 2 1Ž4 hours when needed
  • changes in the way overtime is calculated

The agreement continues to rank the Minnesota Orchestra among the top 10 orchestras in the nation according to pay scale, which was a key musician priority.

"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 continue building the tradition of excellence that has been cultivated by the community over the past 110 years," said cellist and musician negotiator Marcia Peck.

The Orchestra's first concert performances back on stage at Orchestra Hall are anticipated in early February.

"Our plan is to resume concerts as soon as possible, with "homecoming" programs in early February and then the launch of our 2014 subscription season," said Minnesota Orchestra President and CEO Michael Henson. "We are happy to begin a new chapter by welcoming our audiences and the greater community to Orchestra Hall and the musicians back to this stage."

Board Chair Jon Campbell stayed on as lead through the conclusion of the labor dispute. A new Board Chair is expected to be elected in the upcoming weeks.

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