CSO musicians ratify contract, get 5% raise and no reduction in health benefits

Tue Sep 29, 2015 at 8:10 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson


Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians ratified a new three-year contract Tuesday that gave the musicians a 5% salary increase and a 4.3% increase in pension benefits, with no changes to health care plans or contributions.

The agreement between members of the Chicago Federation of Musicians (CFM), Local 10-208 of the American Federation of Musicians—and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA), runs through September 2018, and calls for a 1% salary increase in the current contract year and a 2% increase in the second and third year each. The agreement was reached with the assistance of Javier Ramirez, a mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS).

“The musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra are pleased that an agreement for a new contract with the Association has been reached,” said Stephen Lester, chairman of the CSO Members Committee, in a released statement “We are optimistic that this agreement will lay a foundation for dynamic growth and continued success into the future.”

“I have the greatest admiration for the musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and am pleased we have come to an agreement on a new contract,” said Jeff Alexander, president of the CSOA. “The Orchestra serves the greater Chicago community and the world with extraordinary performances, recordings, broadcasts and educational activities. It is an honor to be part of this distinguished institution, and to work on a daily basis with the members of the CSO. I look forward to continuing to work together to advance the activities of this great Orchestra.

“The city of Chicago is so very fortunate to be the home of one of the world’s great orchestras,” said Jay Henderson, chairman of the CSOA’s Board of Trustees. “The musicians’ dedication to performing at the highest artistic level makes the Chicago Symphony Orchestra an exceptional ensemble. This new agreement recognizes the preeminence of our Orchestra while ensuring long-term financial sustainability, and we appreciate the musicians’ willingness to work constructively in this process.”

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