Slipped Disc editorial: Today is zero hour in Minnesotamain
The longest lock-out in the history of American orchestras is over.Late on Tuesday, the musicians and board of the Minnesota Orchestra signed a three-year agreement. Details here.
The musicians take a cut in pay and benefits of 15 percent. They had been locked out 15 months ago after refusing cuts of two to four times that amount. Average pay will be $118,000, which is still among the top ten in the US. UPDATE: Musicians reactions here.
The board get a reprise from a dispute that had forced its members to hire bodyguards and had given them an image of redneck philistines, riding roughshod over sensitive artists. The orch is now down to 77 players (from 95) and only seven will be hired by 2017. Real savings have been made.
Peace has been declared in Minneapolis.
But who wins? No-one. The Minnesota Orchestra today is a broken reed. Its music director, Osmo Vanska, has fled. More than 15 of its best musicians have migrated to other orchestras and the core that remains is embittered by financial hardship and humiliation at the way they have been treated by the president, Michael Henson, and his board.
Today is zero hour in Minnesota.