The two Twin Cities orchestras and their musicians are meeting with mediators Wednesday for the first time in weeks.
Karmit Bulman, executive director of the Conflict Resolution Center in Minnesota, joined The Daily Circuit Wednesday, Jan. 2. The fact that they're resuming negotiations is a good sign, she said.
"When you bring in a mediator, you're close," Bulman said. "But that is if the parties hang in there with the process. You know it doesn't happen overnight in something that's this complex, but the most important part of mediation is the willingness of the parties to come to the table."
Management and musicians need to feel like they can be open with each other, she said.
"It's important in this process that each side be able to lay out what are their concerns, what are their interests, what are their needs, and to be fully heard in an open kind of environment," Bulman said.
Both the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra have cancelled concerts through early February.
The orchestras' managers have proposed cuts to musician salaries. The SPCO faces a $900,000 budget deficit and the Minnesota Orchestra faces a $6 million budget shortfall.