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Dayton, Rybak to Orchestra, musicians: 'Get in a room and talk'

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Gov. Mark Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak Thursday reiterated the need for the Minnesota Orchestra and its locked-out musicians to settle a labor dispute that is nearly a year old.

The Star Tribune reports Dayton said he met separately with each side last week and has been in phone contact with the mediator of the dispute, former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell.

At the press conference outside of newly-renovated Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis, Rybak reflected the mounting frustration with the impasse by saying “There is no excuse not to sit at a table and get this solved now.”

A spokesman for the musicians told the Star Tribune sides are meeting through the mediator and offered no further details, citing the confidentiality of the process.

A deadline imposed by management for a settlement came and went Sunday, with no signs of progress in the negotiations.

The Pioneer Press says on Sunday, management offered “further revisions” to its most recent proposal – which had been rejected by the musicians – and there were ongoing discussions over the weekend through a mediator, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell.

The statement comes as the lockout of the musicians by orchestra management approaches the one-year mark. The lockout began Oct. 1, 2012.

Management and the musicians union are in the midst of a critical time in the dispute, as music director Osmo Vanska has stated he would leave the orchestra if he couldn't have the musicians back on stage by Sept. 30 to prepare for a prestigious concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City Nov. 2 and 3.

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