Chicago Symphony Orchestra rejects latest offer from musicians; strike to go on

SHARE Chicago Symphony Orchestra rejects latest offer from musicians; strike to go on

Members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra strike in front of Symphony Hall on March 12. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra rejected its musicians’ latest contract offer Tuesday, continuing a strike that began five weeks ago.

The meeting was the first between the CSO Association, which manages the orchestra, and the Chicago Federation of Musicians since the musicians rejected a contract offer April 8 that the CSOA called its “last, best and final offer.”

“At this afternoon’s negotiations, the Chicago Federation of Musicians offered another compromise proposal which was flatly rejected by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association,” Steve Lester, bassist and chair of the CSO Musicians, wrote in a statement. “The Association restated their ‘last, best, and final’ offer and has not budged an inch, nor shared any new path for resolution.”

The main sticking points in the labor dispute have been salary increases and a proposed switch from a traditional pension to a defined-contribution retirement plan. The orchestra’s musicians went on strike March 11.

The CSOA said in a statement that it was “unable” to accept its musicians’ proposal because it only had “minor changes” from previous versions. The proposal included “untenable” wage increases, additional paid time off and retention of a traditional pension plan, CSOA said.

The CSO has canceled performances through April 23. The two sides have not yet scheduled any additional bargaining sessions.

The Latest
The second-year forward knows there’s a youth movement underway. Now that he’s healthy, he’s looking to see what part he’ll play in it.
The Illinois Republican has a lot going on at the convention because he wears a lot of hats. He’s a vice chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee — a House GOP political organization — and a member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee and the Intelligence Committee.
If the Cubs were good enough to go to Baltimore and sweep a three-game series against the playoff-bound Orioles, it’s too soon to dismiss them.
The Sun-Times’ annual season-opening test of fans’ optimism/pessimism is a little skewed this year. With Caleb Williams, DJ Moore, Keenan Allen & Co. and a defense on the rise, Bears fans have every right to feel good about this team. What can go wrong?