Chicago Symphony Orchestra Goes on Strike Over Pay, Retirement Benefits - NBC4 Washington
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Chicago Symphony Orchestra Goes on Strike Over Pay, Retirement Benefits

“We have been clear from the beginning that we will not accept a contract that diminishes the well-being of members or imperils the future of the orchestra,” Steve Lester, the Chair of the Musicians of the CSO negotiating committee, said in a statement

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    Chicago Symphony Orchestra Goes on Strike Over Pay, Retirement Benefits

    Beginning Monday morning, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will put down their instruments in favor of picket signs, as the musicians will officially go on strike.

    According to a press release issued by the Chicago Federation of Musicians, the musicians walked out of negotiations with the Board of Trustees and announced that they would not return to work until a new contract agreement is reached.

    “We have been clear from the beginning that we will not accept a contract that diminishes the well-being of members or imperils the future of the orchestra,” Steve Lester, the Chair of the Musicians of the CSO negotiating committee, said in a statement.

    The press release says that the Board of Trustees has presented the orchestra with a reduced benefits package, which includes an end to pension stipends of $3,000 per year for orchestra members after they retire.

    According to the Chicago Classical Review, the management proposal to the musicians represented a 5 percent increase in base pay over the life of the new three-year contract, and said that it would shift musicians from a pension plan to a direct contribution plan.

    The management group says that continuing the pension plan would “endanger the financial health of the institution,” according to a letter detailing the proposal that the group published.

    After rejecting the offer, the musicians of the orchestra will picket outside of the building beginning at 8 a.m. Monday morning, and will not perform until a new contract is reached.