Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra will be back onstage soon after they and the orchestra board of directors have ratified a new collective bargaining agreement that will end the nearly 16-month lockout of the musicians. The agreement takes effect Feb. 1 and performances are expected to begin later that month.
The musicians are members of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) and were locked out by the board in October 2012. In a statement posted today on the musicians’ website, Tim Zavadil, clarinetist and negotiator, says:
The Musicians are pleased that we have come to a solution with our board, and we are ready to begin the hard work that lies ahead together. We are eager to perform for our community at home in Orchestra Hall once again. We have seen firsthand the deep love for this orchestra, and we are confident that this community will, in fact, continue to support a world-class symphony orchestra.
The board had originally sought to cut salaries by 30% or more. While the new agreement cuts salaries, the statement says:
Keeping salaries in the top ten was a critical issue as it allows the orchestra to attract and retain the finest musicians in the country, building on the tradition of excellence that has been cultivated by the community over many generations. The agreement achieves this priority.
During the course of the lockout, the musicians received an out pouring of support from the local community and throughout the state and across the nation.
The Musicians thank each and every individual and organization that has supported maintaining a great orchestra for Minnesota over the past 16 months. We have been strong because of you and we will need your continuing strength and passionate voices as we move forward together. We are excited to work with you, our engaged community partners, as we re-vitalize the Minnesota Orchestra.
In the several years before the lockout, the Minnesota Orchestra was drawing high praise as one of the best in the nation and abroad in 2010, Alex Ross, The New Yorker’s music critic, called the Minnesota Orchestra “the greatest orchestra in the world.”