“For the past seven weeks, the musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra had been on strike over two issues above all: salary and pension,” writes Howard Reich in Sunday’s (4/28) Chicago Tribune. “The musicians voted unanimously Saturday afternoon to ratify a contract settling those matters, following negotiations Friday with the Chicago Orchestra Association in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office. The CSOA board, which manages the institution, voted Saturday evening to approve the new five-year contract agreement…. The contract calls for an increase of 2% during the first two years of the contract, 2.5% the third year, 3.25% the fourth year and 3.5% the fifth…. The contract would be retroactive to September 2018…. Regarding pension, the musicians objected to management’s proposal to shift from a traditional defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan. The new contract makes that transition, freezing the musicians’ accrued funds in the defined benefit plan…. New hires to the CSO will be placed in the new defined contribution plan…. Both sides have agreed to meet during the next year ‘to figure out a plan that would somehow deal with the question of equitability,’ ” said CSO bassist Stephen Lester, chair of the musicians’ negotiating committee. “In another facet of the contract, the musicians will face no increase in the cost of their health benefits.” The orchestra states that concerts will resume shortly.

Posted April 29, 2019

In photo: The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Riccardo Muti. Photo by Todd Rosenberg