New Information on the Minnesota Musicians’ Website

For anyone interested, the musicians have just released some interesting informational reading on their website, including answers to such questions as “Why haven’t the musicians made a formal counteroffer?” and “What is the difference between a joint independent financial analysis and audit reports?”

We’ll have to wait to see what management says in response to the questions raised here, but in the meantime we’ve got a lot to mull over… Here are some of the paragraphs that stood out to me:

Audits do not cover an institution’s viability, stability, business plan, strategic plan, the quality of its management, comparative performance, or present and future prospects. A joint, independent financial analysis would review all of these things, and would assess current and future trends, opportunities and risks…

In effect, management is asking its musicians to make an “investment” of $5M annually in concessions, without permitting the kind of financial analysis any rational investor or lender would require…

Jon Campbell, the Chairman of MOA’s board, admitted he had been “wrong” at the time of MOA’s last major projections (part of the 2007 contract negotiations). He jokingly refers to the fact that the musicians must be wondering “what he was smoking.” He was “wrong” by $100M. This past performance raises natural questions about current projections…

You may be interested to know that the Minnesota Orchestral Association has hired the same law firm responsible for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra lockout, as well as the American Crystal Sugar lockout mentioned in the article linked above…

And they also came out and said what so many of my readers have been saying from day one:

We have been through many tough yet productive contract negotiations over the years. This is different. This is ideology-driven.

Election Day may be over, but it appears the political battles in Minnesota have only just begun.


Filed under Not My Writing

5 responses to “New Information on the Minnesota Musicians’ Website

  1. Sarah

    Wow. This is the clearest explanation of the whole sorry multi-year mess that I’ve read. And $100m off – yeah, that’s a guy you want as a banker. I mean – whoops, we really screwed up, now you musicians have to pay for it.

    BTW who is the law firm? Faegre etc.? If so, that makes sense – doesn’t the Powerline blog emanate from there?

  2. pamina58

    “Ideology-driven” is indeed the game-changer. But just what is the ideology? How can resolution be found unless this defined?

  3. Matthew Probst

    The thing that sucks about this is that the longer this gets drawn out, the more musicians leave.

    Allowing this to progress without an end in sight only makes sense if management’s goal is to dissolve the orchestra entirely. Then they can wave it off as an accident of labor negotiations instead of explaining that their real plan is to book light entertainment from other cities in Orchestra Hall. All the better if it takes a 5-year-long lawsuit to settle things; I’m sure management can use that to figure out how to burn through any remaining Orchestra funds.

    The same technique one has seen with disturbingly increasing frequency as the years go by, at companies all across the United States. MBA-driven culture; money-shuffling is the end goal, there is no mission besides the flow of green slips of paper into the pockets of the MBAs. Money as god–this is the ideology. Employees are an expense center, not a money-making center. Ownership of real estate and concert hall booking are cashflow-positive, thus that is the only part of the business they are interested in.

    We’re still looking for ways to shame this ideology with facts, to renew negotiations with this ideology, to beat this ideology. It can be beaten, but not while the MBAs and bean-counters are in charge. Beating them by temporarily getting them to agree to the musicians’ desired contract just keeps the issue open for _next_ time the contract is attacked. And it _will_ be attacked again and again until the MBAs line their pockets and dress in vestments of gold.

    I wish and hope that between the donors and the wider community and yes, even the State, the musicians could abandon their current management and set up something stable that pays as much as they want and deserve. I’m skeptical that there’s _nearly_ enough money available, fast enough, to halt this waiting game.

    I would gladly donate from my comfortable salary into a fund to create such a new entity. I would _not_ donate in any way to the Minnesota Orchestra as its management currently stands, even if the musicians temporarily get what they want. They’ve shown clearly what they want.

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