Chicago Symphony cancels concerts after contract talks reach impasse over pension

Posted on: March 19, 2019

“The Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Monday canceled more concerts as the strike by its musicians spills into its second week,” writes Troy Closson in Monday’s (3/18) Chicago Sun-Times. “The cancellations include subscription concerts and education activities through CSO’s School Concert series scheduled through March 25. Also canceled was the CSO at the Movies ‘An American in Paris’ presentation at 8:30 p.m. Friday … The musicians’ biggest concerns are management proposals for ‘inadequate’ salary increases and to replace musicians’ traditional pension plan with a defined contribution plan. Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association board chair Helen Zell said … that continuing the existing pension plan would be ‘irresponsible’ of management.… Negotiations between the musicians union and orchestra management took place on Friday and Saturday, CSOA President Jeff Alexander said. No date has been set for the next session. Alexander said there ‘has not been movement on the wage question from either side,’ as both of last week’s sessions were almost ‘100 percent focused’ on the pension issue…. The Chicago Federation of Musicians issued a statement later Monday: ‘The CSO has maintained a pension plan for its musicians for almost 50 years, and every current orchestra member was hired with the promise of a pension with a guaranteed benefit.’ ”

Posted March 19, 2019