“Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Riccardo Muti has sent a letter to board chair Helen Zell and president Jeff Alexander expressing support for the musicians in current contract talks, according to a statement from the Chicago Federation of Musicians,” writes Howard Reich in Wednesday’s (3/6) Chicago Tribune. “ ‘As music director and a musician of this orchestra, I am with the musicians,’ Muti said…. ‘I hope before my return in a few days, everything will be settled.…’ Muti’s next residency with the orchestra begins March 14. At issue is the nature of the musicians’ pension benefits, salary and other matters. The CSO musicians voted last month to strike on March 10 ‘if no settlement is reached,’ according to the union statement…. Contract negotiations have been ongoing for the past 11 months.” A statement by CSO President Jeff Alexander on Wednesday reads: “We hold the musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the highest regard and are working closely with their union representatives to come to an agreement on a new contract. While their current contract is among the best in the country, we have offered improvements in salary and working conditions and look forward to finalizing the details with the union as soon as possible.”

Posted March 7, 2019