SPCO musicians won't budge on 2-tier pay scale

Representatives of the locked-out musicians of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra say they continue to have objections to a compensation package proposed by management.

They are particularly opposed a two-tier pay system. Under that proposal, any new musicians joining the orchestra will earn $10,000 a year less than current players.

Last week SPCO interim president Dobson West offered some concessions, including a guarantee that no current musicians will be laid off as the orchestra moves from 34 to 28 players.

However, musicians' negotiator Carol Mason Smith said that in reality the major concessions have been on the part of the musicians.

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"We have made concessions as far as the complement of the orchestra, the number of musicians," she said. "We've made compensation concessions, and we are still not seeing the similar kind of drastic change that we have made, we are not seeing it from our management yet."

Smith said progress is being made, but there is still a long way to go.

"We are talking, so that's where it is right now. We are still talking," she said.

The two sides are exchanging documents and seeking dates for more talks.

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