Inicio Local Symphony musicians authorize strike if no deal by March 10

Symphony musicians authorize strike if no deal by March 10


Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians have voted to authorize a strike on March 10 if a deal for a new three-year contract isn’t reached by then, the Chicago Federation of Musicians announced Thursday.

The musicians’ union began negotiating a new labor agreement 11 months ago, and their old contract, which expired in September, was extended to March 10.

A matinee performance is scheduled for 3 p.m. that day. Stephen Lester, chairman of union’s negotiating committee, said the musicians voted Wednesday night to perform that concert — Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto and Dvořák’s Seventh Symphony. Then, the orchestra’s 100 musicians will walk out as their contract expires again.

Union officials would not give a vote tally, saying only that the strike was authorized with overwhelming support.

The musicians say currently proposed salaries are too low, with CSO pay falling behind other top groups across the country. Without specifying targeted salary increases, Lester said CSO hopes “to match the gains of other orchestras.”

“We want a fair and competitive contract,” Lester said. “The overwhelming vote to strike was driven by management’s insistence on reducing benefits and offering inadequate compensation.”

A request for comment was not immediately returned by CSO management.