Minnesota Orchestra dispute calls in international mediator

24 July 2013, 15:13 | Updated: 24 July 2013, 15:19

Former US Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell is the latest to become involved in the long-running Minnesota Orchestra dispute over musicians' pay and contracts, according to sources close to the orchestra.

Legendary negotiator George Mitchell, who helped the peace process in Northern Ireland, is  thought to be putting his expertise to good use in a dispute within the Minnesota Orchestra. Neither management nor musicians have confirmed or denied his involvement.

The dispute began in April 2012, when orchestral management decided to cut base salaries by 32%. The players never offered an official counter proposal, and the two sides are now in deadlock.

Musicians met on Monday, but would not say whether they voted on a proposal: “We never talk about the details of our meetings," said spokesman Blois Olson. "We are still in dialogue to try to find a path toward mediation."

Conductor Osmo Vanska says he plans to resign if there is no resolution by early September. So far, cancelled concerts have resulted in the loss of the entire 2012-2013 season.