Locked-out musicians reject SPCO’s contract proposal

Musicians locked out of their jobs by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra voted unanimously today to reject a contract offer from management, prolonging a work stoppage that began Oct. 21.

Management’s proposed reductions to current musicians’ salaries and benefits are unacceptable, union members said. They warned even bigger proposed cuts to future musicians’ compensation would undermine the orchestra’s quality and artistry.

Lynn Erickson, SPCO member and spokesperson for the musicians’ Negotiating Committee, said the SPCO would be “unable to identify any qualified artistic consultant who would support the proposed reductions.”

Kyu-Young Kim, an SPCO violinist and member of the musicians’ Negotiating Committee, called the contract proposal an attempt by management to divide current and future orchestra members.

“Management again fails to realize that an orchestra functions as a team, and that none of us in the SPCO have any interest in selling our present or future colleagues down the river,” Kim said.

Kim pointed to a letter made public Oct. 25 in which SPCO management said it planned to reduce the pay of highly paid “principal players” significantly less than those who receive the base pay.

SPCO management has said it is looking to cut $1.5 million from its annual budget in contract negotiations. Musicians have presented management with a counter-proposal that, they say, would save the SPCO more than $700,000 over the course of three years – while continuing to live up to the orchestra’s high artistic standards.

“Our goal is to preserve the artistic excellence of the SPCO in a fiscally responsible way, for our supporters and for this community,” Erickson said. “We want to resume negotiations as soon as possible and hope that a mutually agreeable solution can be quickly achieved.”

The proposal rejected today also would give management the ability to terminate musicians at any time with no recourse, the musicians said.

Click here for more information on the Musicians of the SPCO and their lockout.

%d bloggers like this: