St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Faces Potential Lockout
First it was the Minnesota Orchestra, now the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra is in a labor dispute with its musicians that could lead to a lockout.
The musicians held a free concert in Rice Park Tuesday, right across the street from their usual home at the Ordway.
The concerts are still a go for now as the musicians have been playing without a contract, which expired on Sept. 30. At issue is a request by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra for its musicians to take a pay cut but also reduce the number of the players.
Musicians say they are worried about being locked out. Orchestra managing director Dobson West says that is a day to day situation, but adds the performances cannot go on with current costs. Musicians want to keep playing while they negotiate, but a version of that plan has not been worked out with management.
One suggestion from the musicians is to raise ticket prices. Orchestra management says low ticket prices is too important to bringing in new patrons and is not an option.
West says the organization has saved $1.5 Million by cutting office staff and reducing marketing costs. Management feels its the musicians turn to help make the orchestra financially sustainable.