I hate to rain on your Fourth of July parade, but I was part of a rather gloomy MPR article yesterday, along with Bill Eddins, Drew McManus, John Budd, and Norman Lebrecht. (Pretty heady company there.) An excerpt…

No union musician will play at the Minnesota Orchestra as long as the lock out continues, Hogstad said, and one shouldn’t forget what she calls rage among some audience members who feel their concerns have been dismissed by management.

“I would like to send a very clear message to the MOA and anyone who is planning on renting out the hall, that as long as there is no resolution of this there will be picketing and leafleting by patrons,” Hogstad said.

So. The cat is out of the bag. If the dispute is unresolved within the next few weeks, there will be picketing. Period. Anyone that books that darn hall will have to answer to angry patrons. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess what day and time various events are likely to be scheduled. You want to book the hall for a wedding? Know your guests will have to deal with picketing. You want to have a Christmas party? Know your guests will have to deal with picketing. You want to have a corporate dinner on stage in Hall? Know your guests will have to deal with picketing. Symphony Ball? Know the board will have to deal with picketing. Yes, come Symphony Ball time, the board will either have to engage in meaningful conversation with patrons, or ignore us and watch our waving signs and wonder what we’re up to. I imagine that more than one banker or lawyer will wish the old blue tubes were up blocking the view of the streets. (Is it too late in the renovation process to install curtains…?) Picketing picketing picketing. Picketing. Peaceful picketing, and respectful picketing, but picketing nonetheless. Firm picketing. Resolved picketing. Picketing.


It will be awkward having a grand dinner here next to a glass wall of picketers…

panoramic picketing

Panoramic views of Peavey Plaza and…picketers.

Maybe if the board and management had addressed our concerns, or even acknowledged our existence, the public wouldn’t be in the incredibly awkward position of having to picket parties to get a chance to get some answers. They had ten months to reach out to us. They didn’t.

Hence: picketing.

Hopefully this message is clear to the MOA monitors who frequent this blog and its comment section.

Please keep in mind this is completely separate from what the musicians are doing. I don’t know what if anything the musicians are planning in this regard, but I don’t really need to know, because locked-out patrons have all the right in the world to make a fuss by themselves. This isn’t a mere management/musicians dispute, and it never has been. This lockout is a triangle of dysfunction between management/musicians/patrons, and if management and the board ignores the patron part of that equation, whether out of malice or sheer incompetence, then don’t be surprised when we start raising our voices.

It still remains to be seen what exact form the picketing will take, and how formally it will be organized, but we ought to discuss it now and get the ball rolling. So. Thoughts? Leave them here. Join the conversation on Facebook. Brainstorm. The conversation will no doubt continue over the summer.

In the meantime, get your signs ready.


Filed under Labor Disputes, Minnesota Orchestra, Uncategorized

17 responses to “Picketing

  1. Dave From Save Our Symphony Detroit

    As I have said elsewhere, get the Unions involved. The UAW picketed with SOS in Detroit. And make sure any Union worker (catering, flowers, maintenance etc) knows that they will be crossing a union picket line!

  2. Evy Olson

    I’m in! Will begin making signs immediately!

  3. Sandi Sherman

    Long overdue girlfriend! I am ready to picket and I urge all supporters of the MN Orchestra musicians to ready your picket signs. We have to make management feel the pain. There is no other way than to mobilize supporters in action. People, they are destroying our beloved orchestra! We have to act!

  4. Michael

    I live a considerable distance from Minneapolis, but I plan on participating as much as I can.

  5. Bill Slobotski

    Count me in.

  6. Tom Foley

    Yes, it’s time. It’s time for the public to raise its voice. It’s time to be heard. It’s time to let the cat out of the bag. It’s time to mobilize. It’s time to organize.


    Tom Foley

  7. Lizzie PB

    Speaking of union picketing, are the construction workers all non-union, and if not, why are they working while fellow union members are locked out?

    • They are union. However, rumor has it that the MOA inserted a clause into their contract dictating that they would not stop working in the case of a musician work stoppage. (I haven’t seen the contract myself, so I can’t attest to that fact for sure, so take it with a grain of salt.) I’ve also heard there was something having to do with the fact it was partially a state-funded project, and that Mortenson wouldn’t be eligible to bid in future on various developments if the workers initiated a work stoppage, but I really don’t know all the details, and would appreciate hearing them from someone who has credentials and is truly in the know.

  8. Elizabeth Erickson

    I’ll be there making as much noise as possible

  9. Mike Rabe

    Count me in!
    Mike Rabe

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  11. Rachel Whittaker

    I’m in!!! Thank you for this astute, well researched blog! You are my hero!!!!!!!!!

  12. Karin

    I’m in…overdue!

  13. Tom Foley

    The musicians must have felt hobbled having the trade unions out there building the new lobby. There has always been tension between “professional” unions and “blue collar” unions, and certain kinds of more traditional union activity might very well have opened up an inter-union schism, and this would certainly not have been to the benefit of the orchestra. The MOA would have been aware of this, and played it for all it was worth, hoping for just such a schism. I’m sure they showed much more deference to trade unionists than they ordinarily would have. They’ll probably even invite a few of the more comely ones to some opening events. It must really gall them though, as I’m sure the likes of Campbell and Davis hate their living guts.

    But now that the lobby is finished, or nearly so, it would seem that the musician’s union would have more of a free hand to take certain kinds of action. Who knows? If that lobby is opened without the Minnesota Orchestra, they may very well join us on the picket line.

  14. Pingback: The Minnesota Orchestra: Dead or Alive? | Anatomy of Perceval

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