Magazine article International Musician

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Goes on Strike

Magazine article International Musician

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Goes on Strike

Article excerpt

At odds with management over salary and pension issues, musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), members of Local 10-208 (Chicago, IL) went on strike at midnight, March 11. CSO musicians, who otherwise would have been in rehearsal, began picketing outside Orchestra Hall on the morning of March 11. The musicians held their first press conference March 12. Maestro Riccardo Muti arrived and was met by a brass ensemble of Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians. "Maestro, we've prepared a little music for you," said Steve Lester, double bassist and chair of the musicians' negotiating committee. The brass began to play, while Muti stood listening with approval.

Before making public comments, Muti greeted his CSO colleagues warmly, with hugs, kisses, and handshakes all around. "I am here with my musicians," said the conductor. "Today we were supposed to have rehearsal. We try to get a better situation for their life, their pension, their work." The Maestro was applauded by the crowd.

On March 14, the musicians marched in the rain. Cook County Board President and Mayoral Candidate Toni Preckwinkle joined in a press conference. "I think it's insulting that billionaires should say to ordinary working people-in this case musicians-that they have enough," she says.

The following week brought a fine arts rally with support of ICSOM, TMA, SAG-AFTRA, Actors Equity, and AGMA. Eight members of the Illinois Democratic Congressional Delegation stopped by with a letter of support from Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). …

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