Former diplomat and Maine senator George J. Mitchell (Bowdoin Class of 1954) has been called upon to mediate a labor dispute that is threatening to silence the Minnesota Orchestra.
The orchestra’s musicians were locked out by management after rejecting major pay cuts last fall. The 2012-2013 season was canceled, and the conflict has continued through the summer. “Management insists that costs must be curbed substantially to make the orchestra sustainable, while musicians warn that deep cuts could change its very nature,” write journalist Michael Cooper in his New York Times piece about the standoff.
Mitchell has his work cut out for him: the September 15 deadline for determining the fate of this fall’s season is fast approaching, and conductor Osmo Vanksa says he will resign if the conflict is not resolved by then.