The Minnesota Orchestra and Board ratified a new collective bargaining agreement Jan. 14, ending a 15-month labor dispute.
The agreement reduces musicians' salaries 15 percent, less than the original 30 percent sought by the board. The agreement keeps the salaries among the "Top Ten" in the nation according to pay scale, an issue musicians said was critical to attract and retain talent. Musicians will pay a "significantly greater" portion of health care costs, however.
Concerts resume in early February.
"Meeting the ‘Top Ten’ metric means the organization will need to seek bridge funding to help address financial issues in future years," said outgoing Board Chair Jon Campbell in a statement. "Now more than ever, we will need members of our community who voiced strong support for world-class orchestral music in our state to help us achieve long-term fiscal health through increased concert attendance and financial support."
The three-year contract places minimum base salaries at $96,824 in year one, rising to $102,284 in year three. The 77-member Orchestra would add seven additional members over the course of three years, with an understanding that the optimal size would be 95 members. The contract allows for revenue sharing, based on the performance of the Orchestra's endowments.
The Orchestra and Board also came to an agreement on a "classical music focus" for the group, with a guaranteed minimum of 20 weeks of classical performances.
"This ratified agreement reflects that both the musicians and the board made concessions on issues of importance to them, which was necessary in order to bring the organization together again," said Board Negotiating Chair Richard Davis in a statement.
"We are anxious to start performing for our community at home in Orchestra Hall once again," said clarinetist and musician negotiator Tim Zavadil in a statement. "We know that there is a great love for this Orchestra throughout the community, and we are confident that this community will, in fact, continue to support world-class music in the Twin Cities.”