SPCO management announces national deal: sets Monday deadline for local vote


UPDATED 5.45 PM with musician reaction

Management of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra announced today it has reached an agreement on electronic media rights with the American Federation of Musicians.

A tentative local contract agreement with the locked out musicians was dependant on reaching a deal with the AFM. Management says it will end the lockout on Tuesday if SPCO musicians to accept the local deal by 5 PM Monday.

Interim SPCO President Dobson West says the tight timeline is governed by the desire to preserve the remnants of the SPCO season

“It’s important for us in order to get as many concerts in as possible that we meet that deadline,” he said. “If we meet that deadline we will not need to cancel any additional concerts so that we will be able to start up concerts on the 9th of May.”

The musicians however aren’t happy about the deadline. Negotiating Committee Co-chair Carole Mason Smith said they only learned about it yesterday. Union regulations require players to be physically present for a ratification vote, and they need a quorum of 20 musicians. Many have been playing in other cities, and even countries, during the dispute, and it is unclear if they will be able to gather to vote in time to meet the deadline.

However West says he is hopeful.

“We have been told that there is a possibility that they could vote this weekend and ratify the contract so that is what we are pushing for and that is what we hope they will do.”

Carole Mason Smith says another irritation is the musicians request for sheet music to begin rehearsing for a return to the stage have been denied until there is a deal in place.

(Image: MPR file photo)