Twin Cities Musicians Union: Signs of movement by management in Minnesota Orchestra lock-out?

The locked-out Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra will play a concert February 1 to celebrate the orchestra’s nomination for a Grammy award. Winning a Grammy would be thrilling, but also will raise the national profile of the lock-out. Could the coming Grammy award night February 10 be putting pressure on management?

When management locked out Minnesota Orchestra musicians October 1, the move came along with a change in the organization’s mission statement that dropped the words “symphony orchestra.” Now, sources say, the mission statement has been changed again and “symphony orchestra” is once again part of the organization’s mission.

Since the lock-out began October 1, management insisted that the Twin Cities Musician Union needed to make a counter proposal before negotiations could resume. But management agreed to meet January 2 with the union with no pre-conditions and the parties agreed to a discuss a process for a “fresh start” to negotiations.

As the Labor Review went to press, a January 23 hearing by the Commerce Committee of the Minnesota House of Representatives planned to examine the Minnesota Orchestra lock-out. The Minnesota Orchestral Association received state support for bonding for the Orchestra Hall renovations now underway. Some lawmakers have questions about how the Orchestra could seek state support by heralding the Orchestra’s contribution to the state’s cultural life — and then lock-out its musicians and cancel most of a concert season.

To follow news of the lock-out, sign up for an e-mail newsletter, or to find out how to support the locked-out musicians, including ordering a lawn sign, visit www.minnesotaorchestramusicians.org.