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St. Paul Chamber Orchestra unanimously rejects contract offer

Locked out musicians with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra were unanimous in their rejection of a four-year contract offer. Musicians say the pay cuts contained in the offer would reduce salaries by one-third, although management says they amount to only 14 percent. Concerts through this weekend have already been cancelled and more cancellations will follow Wednesday's vote.
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St. Paul Chamber Orchestra musicians were unanimous in their rejection of management's four-year contract offer Wednesday. The SPCO locked out the musicians ten days earlier when they failed to vote on the deal. Concerts through this weekend have already been cancelled and more cancellations will likely follow Wednesday's rejection.

The St. Paul Chamber is grappling with the same financial pressures that plague the Minnesota Orchestra and several other groups around the country. The Star Tribune looked this week at the trend in labor disputes for management to take the initiative by locking out workers before they strike.

In the case of the Minnesota Orchestra, money spent renovating Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis has added to the bitterness musicians feel. KSTP recently talked with orchestra management about the renovation and the lockout.

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St. Paul Chamber Orchestra doesn't vote on contract, lockout begins

The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has joined the Minnesota Orchestra in cancelling concerts due to a lockout. SPCO musicians did not vote on a contract offer by Sunday, triggering the lockout. The SPCO's board of directors cancelled concerts through November fourth, leaving both of the Twin Cities' major concert halls dark.

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Musicians with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra said Friday that they will not be voting on management's contract offer by Sunday's deadline, making a lockout almost an inevitability. No further negotiations between the SPCO and its musicians have been scheduled.

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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.