Ellison, Hodges call on MN Orchestra management to end lockout

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September 12, 2013 // UPDATED 2:36 pm - September 12, 2013
By: Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
With conductor's Sept. 30 deadline looming, pressure mounts on Orchestra Board to accept interim agreement proposed last month

On September 11 Rep. Keith Ellison [District 5] sent a letter to the Minnesota Orchestra management and board urging them to end the current lockout and accept the interim agreement proposed by former Senator George Mitchell last month.

According to the Star Tribune, the four-month interim agreement Mitchell proposed called for musicians to go back to work at their normal salaries for two months while continuing to negotiate. If no deal were made after two months, musicians would take a six percent cut in pay while continuing to work and negotiate a long-term deal over the next two months.

 In his letter, Ellison said he was “baffled by reports that the board rejected an interim agreement proposed by Senator Mitchell.”

 Previously management offered a similar deal, but instead of a six percent cut after two months, they proposed a 25 percent cut.

 Osmo Vänskä, the Minnesota Orchestra’s vaunted director, said he will quit if he cannot begin rehearsing with musicians by September 30 to prepare for Carnegie Hall performances this fall. According to management, this timeline would require a deal by September 15.

UPDATE: Minneapolis mayoral candidate and Ward 13 City Council Member Betsy Hodges has joined Ellison in calling for orchestra management to end the lockout. 

"Management must immediately work within the Mitchell framework – a strong, fair, measured process – and they simply cannot do so while the lockout continues," she wrote in a statement released on September 12.