Orchestras facing difficult labor negotiations nationwide

While here in the Twin Cities both the Minnesota Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra are still hammering out their contracts (and the Minnesota Orchestra musicians could possibly face a lockout as soon as Monday), the chips are falling for other orchestras across the nation.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and its players ended a labor standoff and agreed to a new contract on Tuesday – and late yesterday, the Atlanta Symphony and its musicians did the same.

NPR’s Kathy Lohr reports the Atlanta deal means the orchestra’s 68th concert season will begin next week on schedule.

The issue in Atlanta is a $20 million budget deficit that management said had to end. It closed the gap in part by cutting musicians’ salaries…

When the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement last month, players were locked out of the Woodruff Arts Center. With the season set to begin in just a week, the musicians approved a new contract with $5 million in concessions.

This, for an orchestra that has won 27 Grammies.