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CSO musicians ratify contract raising their pay

Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians will make more money and have more flexible schedules under the terms of a new three-year contract ratified Tuesday.

A joint statement from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association and the Chicago Federation of Musicians said the agreement will boost annual salaries by 1 percent in the first year and 2 percent in each of the second and third. Pension benefits will increase by 4.3 percent.

A federal mediator helped the two sides hammer out the final details of the agreement reached Monday night.

The musicians began negotiating in July, and their old contract expired Sept. 13. The CSO’s 2015-16 season, with music director Riccardo Muti, opened as planned on Sept. 17, while negotiations continued.

“This new agreement recognizes the preeminence of our orchestra while ensuring long-term financial sustainability, and we appreciate the musicians’ willingness to work constructively in this process,” Jay Henderson, chairman of the CSOA’s Board of Trustees, said in a prepared statement.

Bassist Stephen Lester, who heads the musicians’ Members Committee, added, “We are optimistic that this agreement will lay a foundation for dynamic growth and continued success into the future.”