SPCO talks continue: more sessions planned for next week


Contract talks will apparently continue next week at the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Today’s negotiations, the third session in five days, began around 9 AM and wrapped up around 3 PM.

Musicians negotiator Carole Mason Smith said she still cannot provide details of the discussions. “But we are still talking,” she said, “And I am happy to be saying that.”

Shortly afterwards interim SPCO President Dobson West issued a statement to SPCO followers: Today we met with the Musicians’ Negotiating Committee for the third time this week. Over the course of the week we have had many productive discussions regarding artistic matters, including how decisions should be made on positions in the orchestra and the artistic review process. Through these conversations we gained a better understanding of our respective positions on these issues.

We have agreed to continue regular meetings and have scheduled times for Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday of next week, and I will keep you posted as there is news to share.

Smith said Tuesday and Wednesday dates are firm, and but there are some schedule conflicts to overcome for the Friday session.

The contract dispute revolves around a number of issues: pay, the size of the orchestra, artistic control, and the electronic media agreement which governs use of SPCO material online.

The SPCO management locked out the musicians in mid-October, and musicians representatives have said they are concerned if they don’t get a deal worked out soon the entire SPCO season is at risk.