SPCO talks stutter: musicians frustrated

Talks between management and locked out musicians wrapped up for the week today, after a possible Friday session was cancelled.

Management has promised to put together a detailed report of how it proposes to save $1.5 million a year from trimming musicians salaries, and deliver it to the musicians by Tuesday. Further talks are likely once that information has been shared.

While everyone agrees it’s good the sides seem to be still talking, the musicians are clearly frustrated.

Late this afternoon they put out a release headlined “Musicians of SPCO say Management’s failure to compromise jeopardizes continued viability of Orchestra.”

Reached by phone musicians negotiator Lynn Erickson said “We have made four proposals to management. Each of them has given more concessions, and management hasn’t moved of their original position.”

The musicians release argues that the SPCO has saved about $1.7 million through the lock out. It says musicians concessions will save about $3.4 million over three years. The musicians argue that the difference between those savings and the management target of $4.5 million in savings can be made through other fundraising opportunities.

However SPCO Marketing Director Jessica Etten stressed that the financial need of the orchestra has not changed, and the $1.5 million must come out of the existing budget if the SPCO is to avoid future problems. She says that management has been willing to negotiate different ways of doing this, and has put forward a number of proposals to that end.