Saint Paul, MN ( October 31, 2012 ) – The Musicians of the SPCO have unanimously rejected Management’s “Voting Offer” by secret ballot on the grounds that it would allow the Management to terminate Musicians at any time with no recourse, drastically reduce their salary and benefits, and even more drastically lower the guaranteed salary of musicians yet to join the Orchestra.
Furthermore, the Management has stated their intention to initially reduce the size of the Orchestra from 34 to 28 players as the only way to reach its budget targets of $1.5 million in reductions per year.
On October 25, the Management sent out a public letter that stated that it planned to reduce the pay of some of the highest paid Principal Players significantly less than those who receive the base pay, in an obvious ploy to divide the orchestra. “Management again fails to realize that an orchestra functions as a team, and that none of us in the SPCO have any interest in selling our present or future colleagues down the river,” says Kyu-Young Kim, Principal Second Violin of the SPCO and a member of the Musicians’ Negotiating Committee.
“Our Artistic Partners who have led this Orchestra have written to Management fiercely critical of tampering with its historic makeup, and Management has been unable to identify any qualified artistic consultant who would support the proposed reductions”, said Lynn Erickson, SPCO second trumpet and Spokesperson of the Musicians’ Negotiating Committee.
Management’s offer also includes a retirement incentive, which expires on December 31, 2012, to all Musicians over age 55. If that incentive is not accepted, any of those Musicians may be terminated through reduction in the size of the Orchestra and receive a significantly smaller severance payment. Approximately $3 million was solicited by Management to fund this retirement package, and Management has repeatedly stated that those funds are not available to pay the continuing operating expenses of the Orchestra.
“Our goal is to preserve the artistic excellence of the SPCO in a fiscally responsible way, for our supporters and for this community,” Erickson said. “We want to resume negotiations as soon as possible and hope that a mutually agreeable solution can be quickly achieved.”