Chicago Symphony musicians on strike

Musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra have gone on strike, following the failure of 11 months of contract negotiations.

The orchestra’s management proposed a contract that would raise musicians’ base pay, currently $159,000 a year, to $167,094 by the proposed pact’s third year, and would maintain medical, dental and life insurance coverage.

Pensions, however, would be converted from “defined,” or covered by the orchestra, to direct contributions from the players. Management says that required contributions to the pension fund have grown from $803,000 two years ago to $3.8 million this year.

Management and musicians have issued statements outlining their positions, reproduced on Norman Lebrecht’s Slipped Disc blog:

Riccardo Muti, the orchestra’s music director, has issued a statement supporting the musicians, whose spokesmen said before calling the strike that management proposals had “some encouraging aspects” but don’t come close to addressing our fundamental concerns,” the Chicago Tribune’s Howard Reich reports:

UPDATE (March 17): The orchestra administration says “[a] new agreement has not yet been reached, and the parties have not scheduled any further sessions at this time” (via Slipped Disc):

UPDATE (April 4): Chicago Symphony management and musicians will resume negotiations on April 5. The orchestra’s events have been canceled through April 9, the Chicago Tribune’s Howard Reich reports: