The Minnesota Orchestra Association (MOA) has made two, nearly identical proposals to the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra, a first and a final. The MOA has rejected three proposals by the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra:
- The Musicians offered to submit to impartial, final and binding arbitration under the guidance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. The MOA rejected this offer.
- The Musicians offered to “play and talk” with a guarantee not to strike while continuing to negotiate. The MOA rejected this offer.
- The Musicians proposed a joint, independent financial analysis. The MOA rejected this offer.
The financial information that the MOA has disclosed to the Board and Musicians is contradictory, outdated, confusing, and incomplete. Despite numerous requests, the board and management have refused to provide the 2012-2013 budget. The Musicians cannot make a more detailed offer without a full, independent analysis.
The Musicians were locked out on October 1. Health insurance and all other benefits were cut off without notice, and a large portion of the season was cancelled.
Cuts and Consequences
- Despite having the sixth largest orchestra endowment in the United States at $140 million,
- Despite having raised an additional $97 million of a $110 million Campaign for the Future, $52 million of which is committed to the renovation of Orchestra Hall’s lobby,
- Despite the Musicians’ contribution of $4.5 million in financial concessions in 2009 and the contribution of further savings through a temporary reduction in the size of the orchestra,
- The MOA’s contract proposal includes 30% to 50% pay cuts to musician salaries, as well as healthcare cost increases that would amount to $5000-$8000 annually per musician. The orchestra’s national ranking would fall from No. 8 to 16; from a world-class to a third-tier orchestra. The proposal contains a significant reduction in orchestra size and more than 250 changes to the contract. These changes and cuts will negatively impact the orchestra’s quality and greatly diminish its product, making it impossible to attract or retain the finest musicians.
The New Business Model
- The MOA’s new business model shifts priorities away from our internationally acclaimed performances of classical music towards pops and entertainment presentations.
- The new business model cannot and should not take the place of attention to artistic quality, marketing, community service, and education. Orchestras with a history of extreme cuts have not continued to serve their communities long term, and no orchestra has ever successfully moved itself into prosperity by intentionally lowering the quality of its own product.
The Minnesota Orchestra needs inspired leadership that believes in the transcendent power of great music and recognizes that artistic excellence is essential to our long-term financial stability.
We are the Musicians and we thank you for listening.