St. Paul Chamber Orchestra management has rejected a counter proposal by the musicians, and said in a statement that the offer “is simply an extension of the status quo.”
In meetings last weekend, the union suggested annual minimum compensation of $73,000 in the first two years of a contract and then an increase to $77,000 in the third year. Management had proposed dropping the minimums to $62,000 from the current level of $73,732.
The musicians’ proposal also argued for 34 full-time equivalent players. Management had proposed 28. In a summary on the SPCO website, president Dobson West said the union proposal would save the SPCO about $100,000 in each of the first two years of the contract, and then increase costs by $100,000 in the third year.
Management previously has stated that it needs cost reductions of about $1.5 million. West says in the summary that the two sides will meet this Saturday and next Sunday.
Carole Mason Smith, who heads the union negotiating committee, said that the musicians are "disappointed with management's reluctance to see the longterm consequences of its shortsighted offer." Smith said the SPCO has apparently found several million dollars to use for a buyout program, which has been proposed for older players. The union feels that money would be better spent to "preserve the quality of the ensemble."
See the SPCO's documents on the negotiations here.

The musicians have their own web site here.

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