Minnesota Orchestra Musicians Reject Latest Proposal as Deadline Nears

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The musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra on Saturday unanimously rejected the latest management contract offer, leaving unchanged a lockout that has effectively shuttered the ensemble for nearly a year.

The management offer, which asked for nearly 18 percent salary cuts over three years as well as a $20,000 signing bonus, was deemed artistically unsustainable by the players.

"This regressive model does not fit this community," Doug Wright, a member of the musicians' negotiating committee told Minnesota Public Radio. "Therefore we cannot support it and the community does not support it."

The Board negotiators, in a statement, said they were “very disappointed” in the 60-0 vote by the musicians.

The two sides face a deadline to reach a deal by Monday or two early November concerts at Carnegie Hall will be cancelled. Music director Osmo Vanska has said he would resign if the Carnegie concerts were called off. There have also been vague hints that the orchestra may go ahead and perform those concerts without management involvement, as unlikely as that may seem.

The lockout began on Oct. 1, 2012. Former senator George Mitchell was hired in July as a mediator to try and broker an agreement. The two sides said they would continue to negotiate through the weekend.