MNO musicians: Proposed contract ‘artistically unsustainable’

Hailey Colwell


Minnesota Orchestra musicians unanimously rejected the latest contract offering from their managers Saturday, saying the proposal is "artistically unsustainable" and will do long-term damage to the orchestra, news sources reported. 


The three-year contract offered the musicians an average yearly salary of $104,500 with a $20,000 signing bonus and at least 10 weeks of paid vacation, the Pioneer Press reported, whereas the old contract paid an average of $136,000 a year.


Musician spokesman Blois Olson said the contract's main flaw is its regressive pay scale, which would hinder the orchestra's recruitment and "only motivate people who are here to leave," the Pioneer Press reported. 


Musicians said they will continue negotiations through the weekend, the Star Tribune reported, but after a yearlong lockout, the opposing sides are still at odds.


The two sides face a Monday deadline to reach an agreement or risk losing music director Osmo Vänskä, MPR reported. 


"This regressive model does not fit this community. Therefore we cannort support it and the community does not support it," said Doug Wright, a member of the musicians' negotiating team, MPR reported.


"This is not just about money," Olson said. "It's about maintaining the world-class talent and reputation of the orchestra," the Pioneer Press reported.