ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Community members and donors of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra are offering locked out musicians another alternative if a deal can’t be reached with SPCO management.

The organization says they have launched a new exploratory committee that will see if a new arts organization can be started to house musicians of the SPCO. Mariellen Jacobson, chairperson of the organization, says the alternative is being given to musicians if an agreement can’t be reached with SPCO management.

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“We’ve heard from some [musicians] who are very interested in what we’re doing,” Jacobson said. “Everybody, including us, hopes the society and musicians can agree on a contract that’s really acceptable to everybody.”

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Edgar Linares Reports

Negotiations started with SPCO musicians in December 2011. The contract with musicians ran out in September of 2012 and on Oct. 21, musicians were locked out.

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“It’s a 33 percent cut in pay and no job security,” said Carole Mason Smith, who plays the bassoon for the SPCO. “We were told they wanted a very small orchestra, after 50 years of having a 34-piece orchestra.”

Smith and other musicians applaud the passion and support of the Save Our SPCO group, but they remain optimistic they will resolve their contract issues at the bargaining table with the society.

Last Friday, Musicians received the latest contract proposal from orchestra management. No word yet if the contract will be accepted.

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SPCO concerts have been canceled through April.