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No money to play with: Chicago Symphony Orchestra goes on strike

Published time: September 23, 2012 11:10
Edited time: September 23, 2012 15:10
image from http://cso.org (credit Tod Rosenberg)

image from http://cso.org (credit Tod Rosenberg)

Patrons of one of the five American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five", The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, have been left to face the music: The musicians have gone on strike after rejecting proposals for a three-year contract.

­The contract would have provided musicians with a minimum base weekly salary of $2,795 in the first year, $2,835 in the second and $2,910 in the third, the organization revealed. The previous weekly base minimum salary is $2,785, AP reported.

"Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians are world class professionals, and deserve every dollar and every benefit offered in this contract. At the same time, we must soundly manage the finances of the Association," president of the Orchestra Association, Deborah Rutter, explained in a statement.

The contract with musicians expired in mid-September, but employees had nevertheless agreed to begin the new 2012-2013 season. In the long run, contract negotiations that started in summer broke down with no “happy ending”.

Musicians reportedly left the negotiating table rejecting the association's final offer, and "proceeded to strike."

"We regret any inconvenience the musicians' strike causes our audiences and patrons and assure you that the Association remains committed to reaching a fair agreement," Rutter promised.

An orchestra performance set for Saturday night was canceled because of the strike.