The Musicians of the San Francisco Symphony show support for the Musicians of the SPCO and The Minnesota Orchestra
For Immediate Release
Musicians of the San Francisco Symphony Hold Concert to Benefit Locked-Out Minnesota Musicians
SAN FRANCISCO- The Musicians of the San Francisco Symphony will present a Solidarity Concert in support of the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra and Musicians of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Musicians from the locked-out Orchestras in Minnesota will play with San Francisco musicians, and SFS Principal Bassoonist Stephen Paulson will conduct.
“All Orchestral Musicians in the Twin Cities are very moved and grateful for this wonderful gesture of solidarity by the SFS,” said Fred Bretschger, Assistant Principal Bass with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
The Grammy Award-winning Musicians of the San Francisco Symphony voted to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement on Friday, April 12. The term of the new agreement is 26 months, with wages increasing 4.5% over the life of the contract.
“While we have a new contract, these world-class musicians in Minnesota have been locked out nearly seven months,” said Cathy Payne, member of the SFS Musicians’ Negotiating Committee. “This season, many orchestras have faced lockouts, strikes, and devastating cuts in personnel, wages and benefits. It is important that we remain in solidarity with other musicians and support their efforts to maintain world-class music in Minnesota.”
The proceeds of the concert will benefit the musicians from both Twin City Orchestras.
“The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra are deeply grateful for the support of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra Musicians, as well as all of our colleagues throughout the country, for the support they have shown us during our continuing seven month management-imposed lockout,” said Tim Zavadil, Chair of the Minnesota Orchestra Negotiating Committee. “Furthermore, we congratulate the entire San Francisco Symphony on achieving an agreement that continues to invest in the artists that create the music.”
7:00 p.m, Monday, April 29, 2013
St. Ignatius Church, 650 Parker Avenue at Fulton, San Francisco, California 94118
Musicians of the San Francisco Symphony with special guest musicians from the locked out Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
by Euan Kerr, Minnesota Public Radio
April 9, 2013
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The two sides in the long-running labor dispute at the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Tuesday reached a tentative deal.
Musician negotiator Carole Mason Smith said her committee now will recommend musicians accept a proposal made by SPCO management last week.
The tentative deal between the musicians and SPCO management will require a vote. If approved the musicians’ annual pay will be cut by $15,000, and the orchestra will be reduced by six players to 28. However the musicians will have greater artistic control over the SPCO’s performances and repertoire.
The agreement will put an end to the six-month lock out.
“There are logistics that need to be worked through but the goal is to get back to bringing great music to the community as soon as possible.” Mason Smith said.
The agreement came even as the orchestra’s board gathered to discuss cancelling the rest of the SPCO season, said Interim SPCO President Dobson West. He said the deal will allow management time to negotiate an agreement with the national American Federation of Musicians on Internet and broadcast use of SPCO material.
“We have reached a mutual agreement with the musicians negotiating committee that they will take our proposal to the musicians for a ratification vote as soon as we get an approval from the AFM,” West said.
West expects the national deal will come together quickly, after which arrangements can begin to resume concerts. No dates have yet been set but both sides expect the orchestra will play concerts before the end of the current season.
A statement from St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman following the SPCO’s announcement read, “I want to offer my most sincere thanks to both the Society and the Musicians. Both sides have been working tirelessly in pursuit of this agreement for many months… At the end of the day, this treasured institution is larger than any individual board member, musician, staff member, or mayor. Today’s agreement means that the world’s best chamber orchestra – our Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra – will be enjoyed for generations to come.”
St. Paul, Minnesota (April 9, 2013) –
“We are pleased to finally say that we have mutually agreed to a proposal that will be taken to the Musicians for ratification once the Society and the American Federation of Musicians reach an agreement on media. We are excited to return to the stage as quickly as possible.”
Carole Mason-Smith Co-Chair SPCO Musicians Negotiating Committee
The Musicians of the SPCO have been locked out for more than 22 weeks. 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.”
Letter from Musicians’ Negotiating Committee to Dobson West requesting removal of all material that the AFM has said we cannot vote on, and full language of their proposal to bring to the Musicians for a vote
In order for us to take Management’s proposal to the Musicians for a vote, it will be necessary for you to modify Exhibit A to delete all material that the American Federation of Musicians has already informed you that we cannot vote on.
In addition, we need a full, legal Memorandum of Agreement stating what would be deleted from and what would be changed from the 2007-2012 Collective Bargaining Agreement, and a complete Return to Work and Mutual Release Agreement, all in a form ready for signature. The Committee must agree that these documents accurately state what is in Management’s latest Outline. When we have these documents, we will bring them to the Orchestra for a vote.
However, in order to secure the Committee’s endorsement and recommendation for adoption, the following non-monetary changes must be made:
a. Change dates in 3a and 3c from June 30, 2013 to June 10, 2013 Special Retirement Package
b. Amend the following from page 3 Artistic Review Process:
“Within seven (7) days of the conclusion of the Artistic Review Process, the members of the Artistic Review Committee will take a mandatory secret ballot vote with the ballots counted in front of the ARC, and the ARC members must sign a document stating the results of the vote, but not how each member of the ARC voted, and a copy of that document signed by all the members of the ARC will be delivered to the Musician involved, the Union and the President. At the request of the affected Musician, all documentation related to the ARP will be forwarded to the Union.”
We require that the mandatory secret ballot vote shall be absolute and the unqualified obligation of the Society.
Once we have this document we will bring it as soon as possible to the Musicians. Please let us know if you have any questions, or require further clarification.
Carole, Lynn, Leslie, Fred and Julie
Musicians of the SPCO can’t recommend ratification of Management’s latest proposal negotiated by Mayor Coleman
April 8, 2013- St. Paul –The Musicians of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) said today that they cannot recommend ratification of Management’s latest offer because all five issues Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman thought he helped resolve late last week still remain unresolved.
After extensive review and analysis of Management’s current proposal, Carole Mason Smith, Chair of the Musicians’ Negotiating Committee, said that the actual document Musicians are being asked to accept or reject contains much different language than the letter summary of their document Management sent to Mayor Coleman.
The Musicians’ letter to Mayor Coleman, which details the problems with Management’s proposal, has been sent out with this release and is available on the Musicians website at http://www.musiciansspco.org.
“Management did not fully explain many of the important details of the proposal to the Mayor, and, in some cases, they omitted significant specifics altogether,” said Mason Smith. “We are grateful for the Mayor’s efforts so far, but the bottom line is that Management failed to present him with all of the facts.”
For example, Management’s latest proposal still contains language that intertwines the local union and the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) regarding media rights, Mason Smith said. She said the Negotiating Committee would violate the AFM bylaws if they recommended ratification of the proposal. Mason Smith said that Management is well aware of this fact and left the language in the proposal as a ploy.
Mason Smith said that is why Management late last week said it would cancel concerts through May 5th if the Negotiating Committee didn’t recommend the proposal be ratified by 5 pm today.
“Management knows that it is impossible for us to recommend the current proposal for a ratification vote,” Mason Smith said. “This is just an excuse to cancel two more weeks of concerts and increase their own savings by approximately $156,000.”
In the letter to Mayor Coleman outlining the problems with Management’s latest proposal, the Musicians say the only way to resolve the dispute now without further cancellation of concerts is for Management to accept and sign the Musicians’ April 2nd Memorandum of Agreement by 5 pm today.
Mason Smith said this proposal, plus money saved through the lockout, will save the Management more than $5 million by the end of the contract on June 30, 2016, and the Negotiating Committee would unanimously support a ratification vote.
The Musicians of the SPCO have been locked out for 22 weeks. 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.”
The Honorable Mayor Coleman:
April 6, 2013
Thank you for your continued efforts to attempt to reach a resolution to the dispute between the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Society and the Musicians of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. We very much appreciate your efforts, but it appears upon review of the language in the proposal sent to us by Management that the Society’s letter sent to you on April 5th has much different content than the actual document sent to us by the Society.
As you recall prior to your meeting April 3rd with Carole Mason Smith, Lynn Erickson and Brad Eggen, Brad sent you an email saying that “if an impromptu meeting does occur, these documents would be the governing frame of reference.” The documents referred to are the April 2nd Musicians’ Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and Return to Work and the Special Retirement Package attachment. Any comments made to you at that meeting were made in relation to our April 2nd proposal for the Negotiating Committee and not the March 29th proposal of Management. The Negotiating Committee has consistently said that Management has to reply to the terms of its April 2nd proposal. Management’s refusal to do so has enabled it to appear to make movement and yet make a worse proposal. Furthermore, without proposing final language to appear in a Memorandum of Agreement, Management has made it impossible to resolve this matter by Monday April 8th. We will now analyze each of the points in your letter of April 5th, Management’s letter to you of April 5th, and the actual Outline of Proposal sent to us, to point out the discrepancies between what you were led to believe had been proposed and what really has been proposed.
1. Compensation: Our MOA specified that per service rates for subs and extras be calculated on the basis of annual salary divided by 256 rather than 288. The Society’s “288 services” is a fictional number because it includes vacation weeks. The Society now proposes only 32 weeks of performances and we have agreed to accept that number, but the calculation for subs and extras should be based on 32 times 8, which is 256. By refusing to recognize or even discuss with you this difference the Society’s increase from 80% to 90 % of its per service rate is still significantly below the rate that we have proposed in our April 2nd MOA. Furthermore, you will recall at the meeting that Brad expressed the necessity of returning to 100% beginning on July 1, 2015. None of this is reflected in Management’s April 5th letter to you.
2. Return to Work Agreement and Mutual Release: Your letter states that you were given a copy of our Return to Work Agreement and Mutual Release on April 3rd. However it appears you were not given a copy of the document Management now proposes which is in many respects different from our proposal. First, in regard to permitting musicians to honor commitments they have with other orchestras for the period of time in which performances would be held this season, the Union asks for five days after the execution of formal documents to provide that list, and Management changed it to the same time as the documents are executed.
This is one of the ways that Management has made it impossible to conclude terms of a final agreement by April 8th which was the final deadline before any concerts would be cancelled. Second, Management states in its Outline: “The Union will agree to all reasonable waivers to enable the Society to meet as much of the schedule of the season as possible.” We made no such proposal and have no idea what this language means. Third, in our Agreement we propose that Management not challenge any unemployment compensation requests which have been made by the Musicians to receive benefits while they were locked out. Management has no such provision in its documents. Fourth, we proposed that the broad releases in that document would not affect any pending grievances, claims for sick leave, disability benefits or workers compensation made prior to the conclusion of the lockout. Management has no such provision. By removing this provision Management violates the National Labor Relations Act which has been interpreted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the courts to mean that any matter which is in or can be in litigation cannot be required to be settled as part of reaching a Collective Bargaining Agreement. Apparently recognizing that they are violating the law, Management inserts in its document a provision releasing all claims that might be brought with the NLRB or any other governmental agency or body. No such provision is in our Agreement. Once again apparently Management has not explained to you these very important changes between the document we proposed on April 2nd and the document they proposed on April 5th.
3. Recording of Rehearsals: Our April 2nd MOA restricted the use “of any recording or broadcast of any rehearsal or performance…in any Artistic Review Process or any discipline of any Musician.” Management’s letter to you dated April 5th seems to state agreement to that language. However, their Outline sent to us on April 5th refers only to “no audio or audio-visual product created and or released pursuant to this Agreement…” A product does not include all the captures that are not used in the final marketed item and therefore would permit the use of any of those recordings in disciplinary proceedings. Once again the letter sent to you and the actual document sent to us are not the same.
4. Artistic Review Process: Management’s letter to you of April 5th seems to adopt our provision that there must be a secret ballot vote and a signed document recording the results of that vote produced by the Artistic Review Committee at the end of its process. However, in Management’s Outline presented to us the following inconsistent language is added:
Provided, however, the Society shall not be held responsible in any fashion for the ARC’s failure to conduct such secret ballot vote in the manner set forth above nor shall the failure to conduct this secret ballot vote in the manner set forth above be the basis for either a Musician or the Union filing a grievance pursuant to the grievance and arbitration provisions of this Agreement. In short, the Society shall not be responsible in any fashion by virtue of a failure to conduct this secret ballot vote as set forth above, nor shall such failure to act impede the Society in taking final action regarding the Musician who is the subject of the ARP.
This is a classic example of making a commitment and then removing all penalties for violating the commitment which then makes the commitment meaningless. Once again, this language does not appear in the letter Management sent to you.
5. Media Rights: Your letter states “the Society is removing any contingencies of AFM approval as you have asked.” However the Society’s letter to you states: “We understand the AFM will not permit our Musicians to vote on our proposal until such time as we have reached an agreement with the AFM.” Management’s position is entirely wrong, and they have been told that repeatedly by the AFM. The AFM has said that there can be no relationship between entering into the agreement with the Local Union and the agreement with the AFM. They are separate and distinct. The Musicians can return to playing as soon as an acceptable agreement with the Local Union is entered into without consideration of any agreement with the AFM.
This latest ploy by Management is just a way of giving the Society an excuse to cancel two more weeks of the season and is directly contrary to everything they have been told by the AFM and by us.
Additionally, Exhibit A to Management’s latest Outline still has language which indicates the $7,000 media fee will not be paid to Musicians unless all of the terms in that Exhibit are accepted. This issue was discussed at our very first meeting with you and you assured us that Management would not take that position yet the Society continues to do so. (See E.1.2.a.) That Exhibit also requires the Local Union to enter into Agreements with Management which can only be made with the AFM. Once again the Society has repeatedly been told this by the AFM and simply ignores what it has been told. The Society has not removed its contingencies related to the AFM in its latest Outline.
In addition to the issues specifically mentioned in your letter the Society has continued to propose provisions which in our Committee’s very first meeting with you were agreed to without qualification. For example, you told us that a $3,000 signing bonus was a substitution for the settlement for the pay grievance which it was estimated would yield each Musician approximately $5,100. We agreed to that substitution but there was no discussion of delaying payment for 60 days and there was no discussion of refusing to pay pension contributions on that money. If the payment was a substitute for the pay grievance, and payment under the pay grievance would have required a pension contribution, then the pension payment should be made as we originally understood it would be.
The Society’s attempt to have us agree to the vague terms of their proposal rather than to contract language such as we proposed in our MOA, and the continued intertwining of the Agreements of the Local Union and the AFM, makes it impossible for us to agree to submit the Society Outline for ratification with our recommendation that it be ratified by Monday April 8th. The Society knows this and it has set up this situation so it may have an excuse for canceling two more weeks of concerts and will increase Management’s savings by approximately $156,000. Under our MOA, each individual musician will lose $3,333.33 plus 100% of overscale. This destroys the balance upon which our proposal of April 2nd was made. Therefore, we will insist in any resolution that Musicians are paid for the entire seven weeks remaining in the season even if Management cancels any or all of them. The language in Paragraph 1 of our Return to Work Agreement and Mutual Release provides for such payment. This protection is necessary because Management will otherwise continue to play this game of cancelling more weeks of the remaining season.
In conclusion, we believe the only way to resolve this dispute without the further cancellation of any concerts is for Management to accept and sign the MOA we proposed on April 2nd by 5 p.m. on April 8th. Such action by the Society assures first that the commitments made to you by Management on April 5th will be kept, and second assures that there will be an agreement signed by 5 p.m. on April 8th that we will submit for ratification with the unanimous support of the Negotiating Committee. Please let us know if your office will insist that Management honor its commitments made to you which were not reflected in the Outline that Management sent to us on April 5th.
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Negotiating Committee
Carole Mason Smith
Below is an email to the Negotiations Committee from Dobson West, and our subsequent reply.
Dear Negotiating Committee,
It is very clear that there are significant misunderstandings about what is contained in our proposal. Since we are at such a critical time, we believe it is very important to clear up those misunderstandings. As a result, we are proposing a meeting, not to negotiate, but to make sure we all understand what is and is not in our proposal. We would not intend to discuss our proposal to the AFM, only our proposal to you. We would invite all of you as well as all Board members, Musicians and senior management. The meeting would be facilitated by Jeanne Frank and be held on Friday at 3:00 pm central time. At the meeting, I would present the substance of our proposal and invite you to interrupt if you believe that I am saying anything that is not factual. I would also be prepared to answer questions about our proposal; again not to negotiate but to be certain that everybody understands our proposal. Let me know if this meeting is acceptable to you.
Dobson West President
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestr
We have received your April 3, 2013 letter suggesting a meeting where the Society would clarify some alleged misunderstandings of the Society’s last proposal. Regardless of what the Society may have intended to propose or what it thinks it has proposed, the written language of the proposal is what matters. The Musicians have considered that language and have overwhelmingly rejected it.
Nothing the Society may say will change that fact. Threats to cancel the season will not change that fact. Threats by donors will not change that fact. The Mayor cannot change that fact. Consequently, the meeting you proposed will serve no purpose.
In addition, the latest Society proposal still makes the entire agreement contingent on reaching an agreement on media issues with the American Federation of Musicians (AFM). It even makes the payment of a signing bonus contingent on such an agreement. The President of the AFM has told the Society in writing that the AFM will not let the Musicians vote on such an agreement, and yet the proposal has not been changed. Beyond that, the Society asks Musicians to consider media issues which the Society has been told for months can only be negotiated with the AFM and cannot be considered by the Musicians Any agreement with the AFM is totally independent of an agreement with the Musicians.
On Tuesday, April 2, 2013, the Musician Negotiating Committee provided the Society with a proposal that can save the season and the SPCO. That Memorandum of Agreement is the product of compromise. It provides the Society with the economic concessions it claims it needs, and provides the Musicians with the job security and certainty they need. That Memorandum includes the Society’s economic proposals presented through Mayor Coleman.. It provides over $5 million in savings to the Society.. The financial differences between the Society and Committee positions are insignificant. And, unlike the Society’s last proposal, the Committee’s April 2nd proposal will be ratified.
If the Society has any questions about or objections to the Committee’s Memorandum, please promptly sent those questions and/or objections to me in writing. Time is short, and that is the only way for the Committee to understand the present position of the Society.
The Society needs to stop wasting time pursuing a proposal that has already been overwhelmingly rejected and cannot be accepted. The time for gamesmanship is over. The Society needs to accept the compromise Memorandum before it. Acceptance will assure that the music we all love and cherish will be heard again this season and for the next three years. The future of the SPCO is solely in your hands.
The Musicians Negotiating Committee