Vanska deadline fails to produce weekend Minnesota Orchestra talks

Despite facing a deadline of Monday to get a deal which will keep Minnesota Orchestra Music Director Osmo Vanska in town, the warring sides in the labor dispute failed to meet over the weekend.

At a press conference Saturday where the musicians announced they had unanimously rejected management's latest contract offer as "artistically unsustainable," the players said they would present one or two proposals to mediator George Mitchell in an attempt to end the year-long lock out and resolve the dispute. Last week management set noon Monday as the deadline for musicians to vote on the contract offer, which musicians did Saturday morning in order to clear the weekend for possible talks.

However, a representative of management late Sunday said the board was still awaiting the proposals, and there had been no discussions over the weekend.

A representative of the musicians said the players had been attempting to engage management through the mediator and would continue to do so Monday.

The two sides have been working against a deadline which has nothing to do with the issues in the contract dispute.

This is the week by which Vanska says he needs to be back on stage rehearsing with musicians to prepare for upcoming concerts at Carnegie Hall.

Last week management set noon Monday as the deadline for musicians to vote on the contract offer, which musicians did Saturday morning in order to clear the weekend for possible talks. Vanska set the rehearsal deadline in an agreement with Carnegie Hall and orchestra management. He has said he considers the concerts so important he will resign if they are cancelled. Both sides say they want Vanska to stay.

While management has said Monday is the deadline for making a decision about the Carnegie shows, musicians said Saturday they don't think it is a hard deadline.

Management locked out the players on October 1, 2012, after the last contract expired. Management says it needs significant concessions from the musicians to deal with ongoing financial problems, including a $6-million deficit. Musicians say the suggested cuts will cause the departure of players and relegate the orchestra to a lower tier of performance.

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