The musicians must make a counteroffer
I have been a season-ticket holder for the Minnesota Wild since their first game and a Minnesota Orchestra subscriber since 1975, and I serve on the orchestra board. I am frustrated that my two favorite winter activities are in the midst of lockouts. But at least in hockey I can take heart that the sides are talking about contract terms and that each side has presented proposals and counterproposals. In the case of the orchestra, however, two proposals have been presented to the musicians, as long ago as April, yet no counterproposal has been made.
The hockey players never demanded an independent financial analysis before making a counterproposal. They did their own work after examining the league’s finances, yet had even less insight than do the musicians, who have audited financials and 1,200 pages of documents. Unless the musicians offer a counterproposal, no progress can be made. And they must recognize that the orchestra cannot survive if concert revenues only cover 22 percent of operating expenses, a significant portion of which is musician salaries.
I truly love the orchestra and its fine musicians, but if this continues I will think seriously about canceling my season tickets, ending my annual contributions and eliminating the bequest to the orchestra in my will.
KEN CUTLER, EDINA
Well then feel free to resign, I guess
I know dozens of people from all around the world who would be delighted to take the awful inconvenience of being on the Minnesota Orchestra board off your hands. Contact me ASAP and we can discuss options.
If you do resign or withdraw your contributions, take solace in the fact that if the current proposed contract is ratified, many more people will cancel their season tickets, end their annual contributions, and eliminate their bequests. So we may lose you, but we will retain many others who we otherwise would not have. So it will probably be, as the Star Tribune said about the Minnesota Orchestra’s holiday season, a “net” “wash.”
Also, I hope that as a corporate lawyer you don’t endorse the business practices you seem to be recommending here. I highly doubt that when you represented AmCom Software, Inc., in its sale to US Mobility, Inc., for $163,000,000 that you would have willingly overseen a transaction that included such egregiously misleading and confusing numbers, no matter how many thousands of pages of information you had in your possession. And since over the months nobody in management has addressed the musicians’ allegation that there are conflicting numbers at play, and since we’ve caught Mr. Henson blatantly lying about the fiscal health of the orchestra at least once before, and since Mr. Davis has been cheerfully deceptive about numbers in the past, and since the draw amounts released by the Orchestra do not match those listed on their tax forms, I’m sure you’ll forgive me for assuming that there are misleading numbers at play within those 1200 pages. You’d agree, it would be naive to assume otherwise.
While I have you here, you mind answering some of these hundred questions? Also: do you know why the orchestra was trumpeting its financial health so loudly in 2010? I’ve been asking for weeks now and nobody from the Orchestra has addressed the discrepancy. Hey, maybe we could set up an in-depth interview to discuss the conflict from your perspective. I’ve got a whole group of well-informed people who would love to talk to you. We could have a conference call. A Google Hangout! You can record those and upload them onto Youtube for the whole world to see. It could be awesome. Contact me! Seriously!
Sorry about your favorite winter activities being canceled. That sucks. Not as bad as, say, losing your job and health insurance over Christmas. But it still sucks.
EMILY HOGSTAD, EAU CLAIRE
Edit, later – Oh, and by the way, take a look at the differences between the two proposals. They’re basically identical. It’s completely disingenuous – nay, irresponsible – to insinuate there are any substantive differences between them.