SPCO musicians seek progress by end of week

SPCO musicians say they are trying to speed up the negotiation process, in fear that the 101-day lockout could drag on for several weeks longer.

In their latest counter proposal, SPCO musicians agreed to reduce their annual salary 20% for the 2012-2013 season, 17% for the 2013-2014 season and 15% for the 2015-2016 season.

They are requesting that management responds no later than Friday, February 1.

Representatives of the locked-out musicians of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra say they continue to have objections to a compensation package proposed by management.

They are particularly opposed a two-tier pay system. Under that proposal, any new musicians joining the orchestra will earn $10,000 a year less than current players.

Last week SPCO interim president Dobson West offered some concessions, including a guarantee that no current musicians will be laid off as the orchestra moves from 34 to 28 players.

However, musicians’ negotiator Carol Mason Smith said that in reality the major concessions have been on the part of the musicians.

“We have made concessions as far as the complement of the orchestra, the number of musicians,” she said. “We’ve made compensation concessions, and we are still not seeing the similar kind of drastic change that we have made, we are not seeing it from our management yet.”