The two sides haven't met since musicians turned down management's final offer on January 3 and a work stoppage began.
"We had a strategy to get back to the table, looking for a mediator right away," said flutist Jan Gippo, a representative of the musicians. "I thought [orchestra president Randy Adams] wanted to settle. We're not that far apart, just $1.6 million over the life of the contract. But Randy said, 'No mediation. I'm not interested.'"
Adams disputed Gippo's account, saying that he was willing to consider mediation. But, he said, Gippo had proposed as a mediator former SLSO executive director Peter Pastreich, who is close to union lawyer Leonard Leibowitz. "They work together as teachers," Adams told the paper. "I think it would be difficult."
Meanwhile, the state of Missouri has ruled that the work stoppage at the SLSO is officially a strike, at least for the purposes of unemployment insurance, according to the blog Adaptistration. Musicians have been calling stoppage a lockout, because management would not allow them to judge auditions in early January. As a result of the ruling, musicians do not qualify for unemployment benefits.
The decision can be appealed to Missouri courts or to the National Labor Relations Board.