Orchestras, musicians meet to restart contract talks

Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra musicians
Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra musicians rallied Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, outside the Ordway Center in an attempt to forestall a feared lock out by the orchestra's management. A representative of SPCO management confirmed its representatives met with musicians Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2012, and will meet again tomorrow.
MPR photo/Euan Kerr

It may be the case that little news is good news in the contract negotiations at both of the Twin Cities major orchestras.

Representatives of the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra met separately with their respective musicians today to restart talks. The negotiations have been stalled for several weeks.

A representative of SPCO management confirmed its representatives met with players today. The parties are scheduled to meet again tomorrow. Under the terms of a media blackout requested by federal mediators the SPCO representative could not say any more.

A release from the locked out musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra said the two sides had discussed creating a process for a "fresh start" to negotiations, and that those discussions will continue in coming days.

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The Minnesota Orchestra locked out its players Oct. 1 and have not negotiated with the musicians since.

A release from management said its representatives offered to share additional financial information and projections with players and asked musicians to make a proposal for an independent financial analysis.

The musicians have been requesting this analysis for several months, saying they need it to make informed decisions during the talks.

Management had provided the musicians with its annual audits, saying they covered the needed information. However Board Chair Jon Campbell said after Wednesday's meeting that management wanted to remove possible obstacles to resuming talks, and hopes progress can be made on how to do the analysis in the coming week.

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