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Minnesota Orchestra approves contract that brings them back in early February

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A bitter lockout that silenced one of the country's top orchestras for more than 15 months ended Tuesday when musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra approved a contract that will bring them back to the stage in early February. Hours earlier, the orchestra board had approved the terms of a three-year deal that cuts salaries and benefits roughly 15 percent. The average salary would drop to $118,000 in the first year, from $135,000 under the expired contract. There are small salary increases in the second two years, which musicians said would reduce the total cut to 10 percent. Musicians would pay significantly more for health care.

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