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SPCO management offer: 15 percent pay cut for musicians

The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra management plans to make a new contract offer to musicians on Monday that proposes a 15 percent pay cut, a cut of several musician positions and an early retirement program.
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St. Paul Chamber Orchestra musicians are bracing for an offer Monday from management amid a long-running back-and-forth over cost-savings for the financially strapped organization, the Star Tribune reports.

The offer would cut the guaranteed minimum salary for current workers by 15 percent from $73,732 to $62,500.

It also proposes cutting the SPCO to 28 musicians. It currently has 31, with an additional three positions now vacant, MPR says.

The Minnesota Orchestra in Minneapolis is also in contract talks. MPR recently asked: Does Minnesota need two world-class orchestras?

Check out the proposal for yourself.

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The management of the Minnesota Orchestra on Wednesday said that musician salaries would have to be dramatically slashed to put the orchestra on a solid financial footing, MPR reports. The average musician's wage would drop from $135,000 to $89,000 under management's proposal.

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Stuck in a labor dispute, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has canceled its concerts through the end of the year. The SPCO locked out its musicians on Oct. 21, and the musicians on Wednesday rejected management's latest offer. Musicians have said they are working on a new proposal.

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Both the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra say big cuts in musicians' salaries are needed in order to stay in business. Neither has made much progress in reaching a deal with their players, as a Sunday deadline looms. Monday a federal mediator took part in the larger orchestra's talks. The chamber orchestra rejected a musicians' counter-offer.