Blois Olson, Minnesota Orchestra musicians' spokesperson, told the media during a press conference that the musicians will vote on Saturday on the management's new proposal in front of Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, Friday September 27, 2013.

Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

Minnesota Orchestra musicians will vote today on proposal

  • Article by: Graydon Royce
  • Star Tribune
  • September 28, 2013 - 7:08 AM

Minnesota Orchestra musicians will vote Saturday on a contract proposal that the orchestra’s board made public on Thursday.

Spokesman Blois Olson said the results of the vote will be made public after the meeting. At a noon news conference at Orchestra Hall on Friday, Olson said he anticipates that the musicians will make “one or two offers today through the mediator” and that they will continue to talk with the mediator “in the days and weeks ahead.”

He did not disclose any details.

The latest board proposal would cut musicians’ base salaries by 18.6 percent in the first year, and then take graduated steps in which the total cut reaches 25 percent in year three.

The offer includes a $20,000 signing bonus for each of the 84 musicians. The bonuses would be financed by a bridge grant from the Carlson Family Foundation and other Minnesota foundations. There also would be revenue sharing if the orchestra exceeded net earned revenue targets during the contract years.

Olson continued to press the board to reconsider a plan made by mediator George Mitchell, the former U.S. Senate majority leader — and previously rejected by management — to lift a yearlong lockout for four months of negotiations. He suggested that the board could use the money pledged for the bonuses to fund musicians’ salaries during the four-month period. “We need a process to rebuild trust,” he said.

Olson would not say whether the musicians’ negotiating team would recommend a yes-or-no vote on the latest board proposal.

If there is no deal that returns musicians to rehearsal next week, Music Director Osmo Vänskä has said he will resign.

Because many musicians are traveling to play with other orchestras, Olson said Saturday’s voting would be in person and by e-mail, through secret ballot.

Regardless of the results, Olson said musicians will go ahead with a concert on their own next weekend at Ted Mann Concert Hall. He said the program, which features pianist Emmanuel Ax, is 80 percent sold.


Graydon Royce • 612-673-7299

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