Harmonious Victory: Chicago Symphony Orchestra Musicians Celebrate New Contract with 3% Annual Salary Increase

The musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), who are members of the Chicago Federation of Musicians (CFM), Local 10-208 of the American Federation of Musicians, along with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA), have jointly announced a new contract.

Under the terms of the new agreement, the annual salary of CSO musicians will increase by 3% in each of the three years covered by the contract. Additionally, all healthcare, insurance, and retirement benefits will remain in place.

The contract includes various enhancements to the working conditions of the musicians, as well as opportunities for additional revenue, cost savings, and improved management efficiency for the CSOA and Ravinia Festival.

Mary Louise Gorno, Chair of the CSOA Board, emphasized the CSO's significance as a cultural institution and its role as an ambassador for the arts, expressing gratitude to the teams that worked collaboratively to secure the agreement.

James Smelser, Chair of the CSO Members’ Committee, expressed the musicians' satisfaction with the new contract and acknowledged the Board's support, allowing them to continue delivering exceptional orchestral music to audiences in Chicago and worldwide.

Previously, the musicians had unanimously rejected a "final" proposal from the board in 2019, citing concerns about freezing the pension plan and limiting salary increases. This led to a seven-week strike, ultimately resulting in a contract with a 13.25% wage increase over five years.

This week, Riccardo Muti, CSO's music director emeritus for life, will conduct the orchestra's season-opening performance at Orchestra Hall and lead the CSO in New York to open Carnegie Hall's concert season on October 4, 2023.

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