Minn. Orchestra musicians seek arbitration

Musicians at the Minnesota Orchestra on Sunday offered binding arbitration as a way to avoid a lockout in their contract dispute with orchestra management.

Musicians and management began meeting just before 1:30 p.m. in a last-ditch effort to reach a deal before midnight Sunday, when the current contract expires.

The musicians rejected the final management offer Saturday night, saying the pay cuts it contains threaten the future of the orchestra. However, the management says that if there is no agreement by the deadline it will lock out the musicians.

The orchestra's management says that with a nearly $3 million deficit this year and others likely in the future, it needs significant concessions from the musicians to preserve the orchestra.

Meanwhile, musicians and management at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra continued to negotiate their contract. They also faced a deadline of midnight Sunday. But both sides have indicated they are likely to continue talking even if they do not reach a deal.

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