Members of the Minnesota Opera Orchestra have voted unanimously to authorize a strike, the group announced Friday.
The musicians, members of the American Federation of Musicians Local 30-73, have been working without a contract for more than six months. It’s unclear if the group will actually go on strike.
“It is our hope that management finally acknowledges the seriousness of the issues we have raised,” the musicians said in a news release. “The president and management owe our community world-class productions, including a world-class orchestra, and a clear vision for the future of the Minnesota Opera. We’re prepared to meet with the board and management soon.”
The musicians raised a number of issues that claim:
- Management has cut musicians’ work by more than 40 percent.
- The stated position of management is that there is “no interest” in a service guarantee going forward or even a contractual assurance to the musicians for the future.
- Musicians have received no indication from management that the next four year contract will guarantee their work together as an orchestra.
- Management is unwilling to share a strategic plan/detailed company vision and all financial information about the Minnesota Opera.
Minnesota Opera management issued a response that said a new labor agreement was best accomplished at the negotiating table during mutually agreed upon sessions.
“We’re disappointed at this unnecessary step by the union, as throughout these negotiations we have been responsive, transparent and accommodating to their numerous requests,” the statement read. “Furthermore, in September, both parties agreed to negotiate in good faith and operate under the terms of the previous contract until a new agreement could be reached.”
The 60-year-old orchestra has 46 core musicians and regularly expands with extra players. They typically perform in five productions from September through May at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in downtown St. Paul.
The musicians are currently in rehearsals for “The Daughter of the Regiment” that’s due to open Feb. 4 at the Ordway.