The contract, effective through September 30, 2007, calls for a one-year pay freeze followed by pay increases totaling 4 percent. The minimum salary will rise from $91,312 to $94,004.
Musicians also agreed to changes in their health care plan that will save the orchestra $230,000 each year, and to slow the hiring of nine new musicians.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the orchestra is expected to report a deficit of $1 million for the 2003-04 fiscal year at its annual meeting this week. The concessions, musicians said in a statement, were a response to the financial needs of the orchestra.
"Extraordinary circumstances in recent years require extraordinary gestures on our part," the statement read. "This will be an unprecedented second consecutive contract with a wage freeze in the first year and containing an overall salary increase significantly below the cost of living."
"I believe this contract addresses the very real financial challenges facing the organization at this time," said orchestra president and CEO Tony Woodcock. "We're all very grateful to the musicians for the sacrifices they have agreed to and for being part of the solution to our problems."
The previous contract originally expired on September 30, but musicians and management agreed to extend it while talks continued with the help of a federal mediator.