Key information missing: What do Minnesota Orchestra musicians want?

  • Article by: Karen Bachman
  • Updated: November 4, 2013 - 5:35 PM

It’d sure help to know, beyond the emotional arguments, what would end this dispute.

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akadamsNov. 4, 13 5:59 PM

I would imagine that the musicians would dearly appreciate an end to the lockout. Perhaps that's too obvious an answer for the author.

mikehessNov. 4, 13 6:03 PM

Well, you could start with their offers that the board has rejected. There was I believe a specific financial proposal the board rejected just before issuing the press release backing out of Carnegie Hall. The musicians have also even very public with the need to turn back the 200+ work rule changes. These have. It exactly been secret. The independent joint financial analysis that was never performed, end the lockout- do any of these ring a bell?

mnorchfanNov. 4, 13 6:55 PM

A very nice observation, based on the fact even 6 months before the lockout and during the last year the musicians have never made a real counter offer or request besides intangible ideas. One would almost think the union wants this to last as long as possible even if it means the destruction of the orchestra here in the twin cities, that way the national union can make an example for all future larger negotiations with other orchestras and Minnesota just takes one for the team. But a union would never do that, nah...

richerdavisNov. 4, 13 7:11 PM

Where did the author get the idea that the musicians DON'T want the MOA's financial information? Is it because they don't accept highly biased or incomplete reports? Does this author wear blinders and avoid reading all statements and press releases by the musicians? If so, she may be qualified to be a member of the MOA board.

magoldsteinNov. 4, 13 7:22 PM

With all due respect to the writer of this piece, there have been many sources to answer her questions---for example, the Musicians' website or Facebook page, or Save Our Symphony Minnesota's Facebook page or website. On the other hand, if she has used only the MOA's communication materials or the paper version of the Star Tribune for her information, it would be understandable that she might not know what the Musicians want. Between the full page ads that the MOA have put in the paper and the fact that most of the Strib coverage has neglected to mention any of the Musicians' counterproposals or that the Musicians want to end the lockout, accept the mediator George Mitchell's proposal (which in fact requires significant concessions from both parties), and negotiate using the MOA's chosen mediator rather than through the newspaper. Those are just for starters...

badcopperNov. 4, 13 7:26 PM

Think they want salaries that nobody is willing to pay them.

metrotNov. 4, 13 8:42 PM

They want their own orchestra with Tony Ross as the Boss. They want to win auditions with other Orchestras (where some of our "World Classers" are not making it past early rounds of auditions). They want to turn back the calendar for a redo because they now realize that their strategy of brinksmanship has not worked.

melkp76Nov. 4, 13 8:49 PM

Please go see the musicians' website. It provides details on the eleven (11) counter proposals they made, including the mediator's proposal, as well as their specific reasons for rejecting management's last proposal. What also would help is ending the lockout, rather than entering a "quiet period" as the board chair has recommended.

jlestribNov. 4, 13 9:05 PM

The writer may have been out of state for quite a while, or else has been reading only the misinformation put out by the Board. The musicians have made multiple offers that the Board has either ignored or rejected. Most recently, the Board rejected multiple offers made by the musicians with no counter offer, walked away from the bargaining table and canceled the Carnegie Hall concerts, leading to the immediate resignation of Osmo Vänskä. The writer perhaps is uninformed of what it means to sign a confidential mediation agreement that obligates the parties to negotiate in private rather than through the media. By contrast, the Board and its negotiating committee completely ignored the ground rules and ignored the distinguished, internationally recognized mediator as well. That's not surprising, though, since they also deliberately insulted the musicians and Vänskä by publicly calling them easily replaced. The community knows that it is, in fact, the MOA leadership that is much more easily replaced. Except, of course, that the MOA Board appoints and re-elects itself and is answerable to no one but themselves. Possibly, that might be the true problem the community needs to address. The city gave MOA $15 million of public funds to renovate the hall on the basis that the organization was financially sound. It then immediately declared itself in financial distress and locked out the musicians for over a year. There has to be some accountability applied to this situation. The MOA leadership has to go!

lee4713Nov. 4, 13 9:20 PM

Wow. I'm not sure where the author has been during the past year, but this information has been available to her had she taken the trouble to look for it. The musicians have put very informative, detailed, specific information on their website here: Then perhaps she wouldn't feel the need to ask such condescending and simplistic questions based on management's press releases and sound bites. And if the author is the same Karen Bachman who is a Director Emerita of the Minnesota Opera, hopefully she is aware that the situation with the MOA is worlds away from what by all accounts appears to be the healthy and respectful culture at the MN Opera (not to mention a stable financial situation). And hopefully she realizes that it is impossible to be constructive and specific while attempting to "negotiate" with an organization whose single objective is a scorched-earth contract.


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