SPCO MANAGEMENT PROPOSAL REDUCES MUSICIANS’ GUARANTEED COMPENSATION BY 33%

The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Society has falsely told the public that its proposal requires only a 15% reduction in the musicians’ guaranteed compensation.

SPCO musicians are paid a minimum guaranteed salary, and also receive a separate sum for their leadership roles and special instrumental skills. Both sums are guaranteed under the existing Union contract.

SPCO musicians are currently being paid a minimum guaranteed base salary of $78,223. The management proposal attempts to reduce this amount to $50,000. That reduction of $28,223 is a 36% cut in the minimum annual salary.

The second source of income, to address each musician’s special skills and talents, is called “overscale.” Although the individual contracts for “overscale” are confidential, SPCO figures reveal that the average overscale per musician is $15,058. Management’s proposal reduces the guaranteed income for overscale to $12,500, a 16% reduction from the average overscale in the prior orchestra season, and management’s proposal provides no guarantee of overscale for new hires.

In summary, the average guaranteed pay for an SPCO musicians is currently $93,280, and management’s last proposal intends to cut this to $62,500, a total reduction of $30,780 which amounts to a 33% overall reduction. The constant PR statement by management that its artistic and financial proposal is only a 15% reduction is a shell game calculation falsely minimizing the devastating impac Read More

Musicians of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra call Management’s latest contract proposal “unrealistic”

St Paul, Minnesota (January 25, 2013 ) –  At a legislative hearing earlier this week, the Musicians of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra announced their latest contract offer, which includes more than $4.6 million from the lockout in savings and concessions through 2016.

SPCO Management is still insisting on a two-tier salary level structure, which will make it impossible to recruit and retain world-class musicians. Management’s proposal also calls for base pay salary cuts over the next three years: 33% (2013-14), 31% (2015) and 29 % (2016). A proposal that is “unrealistic,” according to Carole Mason-Smith, co-chair of the SPCO Musicians Negotiating Committee.

Smith said the Musicians have offered to cut 20% of base pay and 15% of individual over-scale during the balance of the 2012-13 and entire 2013-14 season

“We are extremely disappointed that Management continues to demonstrate such an unwillingness to move any closer to a solution,” said Mason-Smith. “Management’s latest counter-proposal is unrealistic, and they continue to mislead the public with claims that the stalemate rests in our hands.”

Management’s last proposal remains unchanged from Sept 7, 2012.

The Musicians of the SPCO have been locked out for 95 days. Their contract expired September 30, 2012. Management imposed the lockout on October 21, 2012 following three weeks where the Musicians continued to “play and talk.”

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Musicians offer fourth proposal

Musicians of SPCO Fear Lockout will continue for weeks due to Management’s Reluctance to compromise

Saint Paul, Minnesota ( January 30, 2013 ) – The Musicians of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) said today that they fear the 101-day old lockout will likely drag on for weeks because of Management’s unwillingness to compromise, its continued refusal to change its draconian salary offers and its reluctance to even respond to the Musicians’ concessionary proposals.

In an attempt to resolve the dispute, Carole Mason Smith, a bassoonist with the SPCO for more than 30 years and co-chair of the Negotiating Committee, said the Musicians have agreed to numerous concessions, including cutting their salaries and reducing the number of musicians (from 34 to 28).

Mason Smith said the Musicians’ latest proposal, presented to Management on January 22, 2013, would save the SPCO $3.6 million through 2016. In addition, Management will have saved over $1 million if the lockout ends by February 10, 2013. Despite the dramatic savings, Management has yet to respond to the offer.

“The refusal of Management to compromise on any major economic issues is what has prevented the end of the lockout and our return to performing great music for our audiences,” said Mason Smith who added that Management has barely changed the financial terms of its offer since September 7, 2012.

In their latest proposal, Mason Smith said the Musician Read More

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 Read More

A string of orchestral developments–MPR

A string of orchestral developments

If ever there was a day you needed a scorecard to follow the wrinkles of the Twin Cities two orchestral conflicts today was that day.
Early on came news that the American Federation of Musicians has filed an unfair labor practices complaint against the Saint Paul Chamber Society, the formal name given to SPCO management.
A release from the AFM put it this way:”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.”
“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.”
It took SPCO management a while to respond to this, and before they did came the next orchestral nugget: the musicians of the Min Read More