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Locked out musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra, led by conductor Osmo Vanska, center, played a concert at the Minneapolis Convention Center Feb. 1, 2013.

, Star Tribune

Financial analysis again splits sides in Minnesota Orchestra dispute

  • Article by: Graydon Royce
  • Star Tribune
  • April 17, 2013 - 7:24 AM

The two sides in the Minnesota Orchestra labor dispute cannot agree on terms for a financial analysis.

After agreeing in early January to pursue a joint independent analysis, management and the musicians’ union remain at odds about the details.

As a result, the orchestra board said Tuesday that it would proceed by itself. It hired AKA Strategy, a New York firm, and expects a financial report in early May.

A union spokesperson said musicians have not decided whether to pursue a parallel track with Keilin and Co., also based in New York.

Both sides had accepted AKA and Keilin as the firms to conduct the analysis jointly. However, a deal fell apart over the scope of the review. Management favored a numbers-only approach that would not touch on more subjective issues such as artistic quality, programming decisions, management performance and the competency of the board. Musicians objected to those limits.

Board chairman Jon Campbell said in a statement that management felt the review should address musicians’ concerns about the veracity of previous audits, the endowment and a business plan. A fundraising feasibility study would also be in the mix.

Musicians, who were locked out after rejecting a contract proposal Sept. 31, say they need the financial review to help inform an economic counteroffer to the board’s proposal that would cut base salaries by 32 percent.

Concerning Tuesday’s developments, Tim Zavadil, chair of the negotiating committee, said: “Management has once again rejected a path for a solution.”

Campbell said the board was “frustrated with the behind-the-scenes efforts that the union has been making to derail this review.”

Meanwhile, Minnesota Legislative Auditor James Nobles has begun his audit into the orchestra’s use of state money for general operating and building projects. Nobles said he hopes that his office might have its report in three to four weeks.

“I am aware they are having this other analysis, and that fits fine with what we’re doing,” Nobles said.

Also Tuesday, concerts were canceled through May 12. All that remains of the 2012-13 season is a Mozart program conducted by Gilbert Varga, scheduled for May 16 to May 18, and a Sibelius/Dvorák program conducted by Osmo Vänskä May 30 to June 2.

 

Graydon Royce • 612-673-7299

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