“The Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians voted Monday night to reject a contract proposal that management described as its ‘last, best and final offer,’ ” writes Howard Reich in Monday’s (4/8) Chicago Tribune. “ ‘We are extremely disappointed that management refuses to hear the musicians’ concerns about a secure retirement and a secure future for the CSO,’ said orchestra bassist Stephen Lester, chair of the musicians’ negotiating committee, in a statement…. Said CSOA President Jeff Alexander in a statement late Monday night, ‘Throughout these negotiations we have continued to listen to the concerns of our musicians and have directly responded with proposals that provide an exceptional, comprehensive compensation package…. we have proposed a long-term agreement that would … support the musicians in a transition to a new retirement benefit and grow the annual base salary by 12 percent, retaining a contract that remains at the top of our industry.’… The musicians over the weekend had proposed ‘maintaining the current defined benefit pension plan but capping pension payments and funding retirement based on an agreed-to formula,’ according to their statement…. The CSOA has proposed switching from a defined benefit to a defined contribution plan. The CSO musicians went on strike on March 10, primarily over pension and salary.” The CSOA will review the CSO season and cancel concerts as the strike continues.

Posted April 9, 2019

In photo: Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians on a picket line outside Symphony Center, March 11, 2019. Photo by Jose M. Osorio