Orchestra contract talks collapse again


Another attempt to break the impasse between locked out musicians and management of the Minnesota Orchestra has failed.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that back-channel talks between two members of the management team and two musicians quickly collapsed after just two meetings, this week.

Multiple attempts to break the stalemate have failed and musicians have now been locked out for 13 months. The impasse has also cost the orchestra director Osmo Vanska, who resigned in early October.

There is a fundamental disagreement between management and musicians on how to go forward. Orchestra managers say they need to make reductions in the cost of the musicians' contract to make the orchestra viable now, so it can survive in the future. Musicians say that runs contrary to the orchestra's mission.

Board member Doug Kelley said his side floated the idea of a reconciliation taskforce of board members, management representatives and musicians to discuss a vision for the future of the organization, but that did not go over well.

"It was very apparent that talks were not going anywhere," musician Tim Zavadil told the Star Tribune. "We know there are some board members who are ready to try and solve this in a different way, and we hope they can become more empowered to start future discussions."

The newspaper reports that Kelley gave the musicians until the end of the year to accept the money that was raised by Marilyn Carlson Nelson in September. He also said he believed the board would be able to raise more money if the sides could reach an accommodation.

Both sides say they need the other to move for that to happen.

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