Minnesota Orchestra validates contract extension for musicians through 2022

As of Monday, the Minnesota Orchestral Association and its musicians have approved an extension of the musicians’ collective bargaining agreement to run through August 2022.

According to the agreement, the two-year extension is accompanied by a COVID-19 side letter — and amendment to the contract — that outlines work rules musician compensation reductions that apply during the pandemic. The agreement was individually ratified by both the board of the directors and the musicians, who are members of the Twins Cities Musicians’ Union (Local 30-73).

“Our staff and musician negotiators have come up with a common-sense approach to these negotiations that acknowledges the uncertain time period we are living through,” said board chairperson Margaret Bracken. “The COVID-19 agreement reflects both the challenges of the pandemic and the collaborative spirit and goodwill that exists within the organization to address these issues for the long term health and vitality of the Orchestra.”

The terms of the COVID-19 side letter call for the following:

  • A 25% reduction in musician compensation, in response to COVID-19 related loss of earned revenue;
  • Medical and dental benefits to remain unchanged from the current contract;
  • Expanded sick leave;
  • Modified duties to be made available for musicians who opt not to perform onstage at Orchestra Hall during the pandemic.

The agreement further states a series of safety measures are in place to support musicians, staff and stage crew as they return to work at Orchestra Hall for a series of fall 2020 concerts designed for television, radio and live-streaming. The concerts will initially feature ensembles of up to 25 musicians and will be presented without an in-person audience, the organization says.

Additionally, music director Osomo Vänskä— who leads the orchestra in its season premiere on Oct. 2, as well as a program on Dec. 4— has committed to taking a 35% salary reduction.

The letter goes into effect starting on Oct. 1 and will end on Aug. 21, 2021, at which point the letter expires if the orchestra is able to perform concerts with a full complement of musicians and without limitations around audience capacity.

To read more on the agreement, click here.