By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Orchestra and its musicians have agreed to a two-year contract extension. It comes with a COVID-19 amendment that includes compensation reduction and expanded sick leave.

On Monday, the Minnesota Orchestral Association and its musicians announced the approval of musicians collective bargaining agreement extension through Aug. 31, 2022.

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The extension is accompanied by the COVID-19 amendment, or side letter, that outlines work rules and a reduction in musician compensation during the pandemic. Terms of the side letter call for a 25% reduction in musician compensation in response to COVID-19-related loss of earned revenue, expanded sick leave and medical/dental benefits remaining unchanged.

There will also be modified duties made available for musicians who opt to not perform on stage at Orchestra Hall during the pandemic.

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Music Director Osmo Vänskä has also committed to taking a 35% salary reduction.

“Musicians recognize that this is a very difficult time for the organization due to the pandemic, “ Timothy Zavadil, Musicians’ Negotiating Committee Chair, said. “This two-year agreement will provide the flexibility we need to keep the organization healthy for the long term. While we cannot perform for our audience in person, we are happy that we can do so through livestreams, radio broadcasts, and our new television partnership with TPT. We remain grateful to our Board for their ongoing support, as well as the management and staff, who are working tirelessly to plan this fall season.”

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The COVID-19 side letter will go into effect on Oct. 1 and runs through Aug. 31, 2020. At that point, the letter expires if the orchestra is able to resume performing concerts with a “full complement of musicians and without limitations around audience capacity.”