St. Paul mayor's intervention spurs new offer to SPCO musicians

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St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has intervened in the contract dispute between management and members of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in hopes of salvaging the rest of the SPCO season, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

Coleman's intervention reportedly spurred management to make a new contract offer to the musicians, who have been locked-out since Oct. 21.

However, MPR added, the musicians indicated Friday that they didn't think the offer was legal.

The new offer is reportedly a "play and talk" proposal, which would put the musicians back to work while contract details are finalized.

MPR reports that the new contract offers a base salary of about $60,000 to the musicians -- an increase over the last offer but $15,000 less than the salary level when their last contract expired last fall.

The offer also reportedly offers a buyout for musicians 55 years and older, and guarantees no current musician will be laid off in management plans to reduce the orchestra from 34 to 28 players.

According to SPCO interim president Dobson West, if the musicians accept the new agreement, they could start playing again by April 21.

Meanwhile, there has been no movement in talks between management and the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra, who have been locked out since Oct. 1.

At current, the Minnesota Orchestra's performances have been canceled through April 7.

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