The MOA Can Afford to Play and Talk

On the heels of this article, Losses Mounting As Orchestra Lockout Enters Fifth Month, in which we hear yet again how the lockout is wreaking economic havoc, I got to thinking.

In April 2012, the Minnesota Orchestral Association put forth a contract proposal to its musicians. They said the average total compensation per musician (including insurance, etc.) would be $119,000 a year, or $9916 a month. (That number could definitely be disputed, but let’s just take it at face value for now.) According to the musicians’ website, there are 80 musicians in the Minnesota Orchestra not on leave (and with the imminent departure of Pitnarry Shin, it will be 79). That means the MOA acknowledged it could afford to spend $7,139,520 on musician expenses during the nine months of the October 2012 to June 2013 season.

Five months have now passed. Obviously the MOA has paid the musicians nothing during that time, so they should still have that $7,139,520 available to spend on musician compensation this season. Correct?

The MOA says that the average musician received $170,000 in total compensation in 2012, or $14,166 per month. (Once again, I know this number is disputed, but stick with me.) That means every four months the MOA paid out $56,664 in salary and benefits to each of the 80 musicians, resulting in an expense every four months of $4,533,120. At the very most.

To sum: they should have $7,139,520 on hand to spend on musicians. To pay the musicians at their old levels of compensation for four months would cost them, at the very most, $4,533,120. And I wouldn’t be surprised if musicians would be happy to have guaranteed work at levels slightly lower than their 2012 rates as the negotiations continue (although, of course, it would be up to them what rate they would ultimately accept).


There is no financial reason why the MOA can’t play and talk through June.

Ideological? Yes. Practical? No.


Filed under Labor Disputes, Minnesota Orchestra

6 responses to “The MOA Can Afford to Play and Talk

  1. james Mason. Principle bassoon,Toledo Orch, retired.

    Pay the musicians, and let them Play!!!!!!!
    That is your job!!!!!!

  2. Sarah

    They have legal fees and security guards to pay for . . .

  3. Once again, brilliant work, Emily. I hope you are sending this to our very quiet governor and the rest of the gang over in St. Paul

  4. Terry

    You are spot on, as usual my friend!

  5. Alison seems TOTALLY practical to pay the musicians to play concerts for the next 4 months. In fact, it might be the only way Henson could possibly save face (though that’s probably out of the question, since so many people already know more than he wishes they did). So why is it impractical?

    • I’m saying it is practical. Double negative.

      In other words…

      There is no financial reason why the MOA can’t play and talk through June.

      Are there ideological reasons why they can’t play and talk? Yes. Are there practical reasons why they can’t play and talk? No.

      Sorry about any confusion.

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