MnOrch announcement on cancellations coming later this week

Today’s board meeting of the Minnesota Orchestra Board wrapped up without any announcement of concert cancellations, but they seem likely to come soon.

“We discussed this at the board today and we will be making announcements later on this week in relation to any further cancellations,” said Minnesota Orchestra President Michael Henson.

Henson declined to say if a decision had been made at the meeting about further cancellations. Minnesota Orchestra management cancelled all concerts through the end of November on October 1st, just hours after locking out the musicians.

Musicians say they wanted to play and talk, that is continue negotiating while playing under the conditions of the expired contract.

But in a release earlier in the day Board Chair Jon Campbell stated that “playing and talking” would have cost the orchestra half a million dollars a month. He also said the Orchestra is now projecting a $6 million loss this year.

Campbell’s comments came in a statement rejecting a musicians request to speak directly to the board. However Campbell said management would accept that only after musicians have made a contract counterproposal.

While musicians have made offers to accept binding arbitration, they have consistently said in recent weeks they need an independent financial analysis of the orchestra’s finances before they can make a counter-offer.

Following today’s board meeting musicians negotiator Tim Zavadil repeated a call for management to end the lock out and to resist canceling any more concerts.

“The decision to end this lock-out lies solely with with the board and the management,” he said. “We remain hopeful that they will end this lock out, they will not cancel any more concerts, especially not holiday concerts and come back to the table.”

When asked if the musicians would consider an offer from management without an end of the lockout, Zavadil said that is a hypothetical and musicians will only consider the possibility if and when it happens.

Last week management at the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra cancelled all concerts through the end of 2012, citing a lack of negotiation progress and a need to let patrons plan.

At both orchestras the most recent contract proposals have included significant pay cuts for musicians, a reduction in the size of both orchestras, and in the case of the SPCO an offer to buy-out musicians aged 55 and older.

The two sides in the SPCO dispute have a negotiation session scheduled for November 8th and musicians say they will have a new proposal to put before management negotiators.