CFL News
September 24, 2012

Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians reach contract

Agreement ends first strike in 21 years for world-famous performers

Musicians with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will return to work and resume their performance schedule after contract talks Monday led to an agreement on a new contract for the members of the Chicago Federation of Musicians Local 10-208. Just days earlier, the musicians went on strike for the first time in more than twenty years after negotiations failed to reach a fair deal.

Stephen Lester, chairman of the orchestra members committee negotiating the contract told the Chicago Tribune that the key issues during talks were compensation and skyrocketing health care contributions.

“They have asked for drastic increases in health insurance payments that would not be offset by the increased salary,” Lester to the Tribune during the strike. “We countered and countered, but they would not accept our attempts at a compromise.”

Just a week after 26,000 Chicago teachers went on strike, the union members from all across the Chicago area stood in solidarity with the CSO musicians.

“We support the men and women who make the Chicago Symphony Orchestra the world-class performance group that it is,” said Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez. “Chicago’s cultural attractions are a vital part of our region’s economy and it is important that the men and women who make them special are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve.”

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