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Locked-out SPCO musicians offer counterproposal to management

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There appears to be movement in contract talks between the locked-out musicians with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and management.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that the musicians released a counterproposal Friday that appears to match the most recent offer made by management.

Talks heated up again following an intervention in the stalemate a week ago by St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.

The counterprosal, according to MPR, includes one major exception: In addition to accepting the offer of a base salary of $60,000, a downsized orchestra from 34 to 28 players, and a special retirement package for musicians 55 and older, the musicians want an integrated media agreement.

The agreement would govern broadcast and Internet use of SPCO performances, and must be negotiated with the national union, the American Federation of Musicians, MPR reports.

The current proposal includes a local element to the integrated media agreement, but not a national one.

Time is running short for the musicians, as management says if an agreement isn't reached by April 8, it will cancel the rest of the SPCO's performances for this season.

At current, all performances have been canceled through April 21.

The counterproposal comes two days after fans organized an exploratory committee to decide whether it is financially feasible to form a new orchestra in St. Paul to take the SPCO's place.

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