AFM charges St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Society with unfair labor practices

New York, NY – The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) filed Unfair Labor Practice charges today with Region 18 of the National Labor Relations Board in Minneapolis against the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) Society for failing to provide relevant information and for refusing to bargain in good faith toward a successor agreement covering SPCO musicians.

The SPCO has demanded the AFM agree to permit the unlimited use of all recorded audio and video content made since the inception of the orchestra in 1959, but the employer has repeatedly refused to identify the titles of the recorded works and the identities of the musicians and artists who performed the recordings. The AFM is the exclusive collective bargaining representative for electronic media services for SPCO musicians, and for all other union orchestras throughout the US and Canada. For other subjects of bargaining, SPCO musicians are also represented by the Twin Cities Musicians’ Union, AFM Local 30-­‐ 73. A lockout imposed by the organization’s Board of Directors will enter its fifth month on Thursday. The other major Twin Cities orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, was locked out by its employer at midnight, October 1, 2012.

“Apparently, the SPCO board is more interested in withholding wages, health care, and pension benefits from the orchestra than answering questions about its contract demands,” said AFM International President Ray Hair. “Rather than nurture and protect an artistic treasure, the SPCO board has inflicted pain and suffering, destroying the lives of musicians who have brought beauty to the Twin Cities area for more than 50 years.”

“We have been locked out for 125 days,” said SPCO bassoonist Carole Mason Smith. “During that time, we have spent many hours in the unemployment lines. Some of us have sold our homes and moved out of the community we love.”

Public information documents obtained by the AFM have revealed that total SPCO assets stood at $44.5 million on June 30, 2011, an increase of $2 million over the prior year.


Founded in 1896, the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM), AFL-­‐CIO, is the largest organization in the world dedicated to representing the interests of professional musicians. With more than

90,000 members, the AFM represents all types of professional musicians, including those who record music for sound recordings, film scores, videogames, radio, television and commercial announcements, as well as perform music of every genre in every sort of venue from small jazz clubs to symphony orchestra halls to major stadiums. Whether negotiating fair agreements, protecting ownership of recorded music, securing benefits such as health care and pension, or lobbying legislators, the AFM is committed to raising industry standards and placing the professional musician in the foreground of the cultural landscape. For more information, contact the main number at (212) 869-­‐ 1330 or visit the Web site at

Follow the AFM on Twitter and Facebook

Related posts