CSO, musicians union reach agreement on new contract

Mon Sep 18, 2023 at 8:01 am

By Lawrence A. Johnson


The last time the Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians’ contract was up for renewal, it resulted in a seven-week strike, fifty cancelled concerts, and a significant loss of goodwill from subscribers and audience members.

That did not happen this time.

In sharp contrast to the bitter strike and fallout of 2019, the CSO and musicians union announced Sunday night that they had reached tentative agreement on a new three-year contract, hours before the current contract was due to expire at midnight.

The agreement, which was ratified Tuesday, increases musicians’ salaries 3% in each of the three years of the contract with no reductions or changes to healthcare, insurance or retirement benefits.

The new contract also calls for a number of unspecified changes that “improve working conditions for the musicians, and create revenue opportunities, cost reductions and managerial efficiencies for the CSOA and Ravinia Festival.”

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2 Responses to “CSO, musicians union reach agreement on new contract”

  1. Posted Sep 19, 2023 at 4:57 am by George

    There is no doubt more to this story. Notice that the CSO didn’t publish its financials for the past fiscal year, something they’ve done every other year in recent history (despite being a nonprofit that receives public funding). Also look at some of the belt-tightening that has taken place within the organization. With Muti out, are donors getting cold feet?

  2. Posted Sep 27, 2023 at 2:55 pm by Moselle Eugen

    Three percent per year over three years is a good deal, especially with the lack of changes to other big costs like healthcare. They should consider themselves lucky.

    And I wouldn’t count on a new music director generating a flood of new money either.

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