Days after management canceled plans for a shortened summer music season for the Minnesota Orchestra, word has surfaced that the two parties are quietly in talks behind the scenes, the Star Tribune reports.
The paper says multiple source close the dispute confirm that representatives from both sides met with an independent mediator this week. The purpose of the session was reportedly set ground rules for a formal bargaining session.
The sources told the Star Tribune that the session arose from an idea from conversations with Gov. Mark Dayton. The parties reportedly will decide in the next week or 10 days if the mediator idea is compatible.
According to the paper, musicians are continuing to ask that the lockout be lifted before they return to the bargaining table -- a demand that management has refused to grant during the dispute.
Orchestra musicians have been locked out since Oct. 1. Dates for the Orchestra were canceled in increments, and the remainder of the 2013-014 season was called off in early May.
Management earlier this week canceled six shows planned for July 20 through Aug. 3.
Some of the orchestra's musicians have left to look for work in other cities as a result of the dispute, and conductor Osmo Vänskä said in May that he leave his post if the orchestra loses a prestigious Nov. 3 engagement at New York’s Carnegie Hall because of the lockout.