Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Negotiations Still Underway as Talks Between CSO, Union Shift to City Hall

The mayor has offered to help broker a deal between the two sides as a two-month long strike drags on

What to Know

  • The mayor's office has offered to help play a role in the negotiations between the CSO and its musicians.
  • The musicians went on strike in early March, and have not played since.
  • If an agreement is not reached soon, there are concerns that the CSO's summer concert schedule could be in jeopardy.

Both striking musicians and management of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra were still at odds despite hours of negotiations at City Hall Friday. 

The meeting behind closed doors began Friday morning, with no sound of a compromise by the afternoon, despite the two meeting in the mayor's office on the 5th floor of City Hall. Reports from City Hall indicated progress had been made, but as of 4:30 p.m., an official compromise had not been announced. 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel had offered to help end a nearly two-month work stoppage over pensions and wages, an offer both groups agreed to take. 

Representatives for the two sides issued statements accepting Emanuel's Wednesday evening proposal that his office play a role in crafting an agreement. The mayor called the CSO "the crown jewel" of Chicago's cultural scene.

The union representing some 100 musicians says they're at "a critical juncture." The Chicago Federation of Musicians noted that CSO conductor Riccardo Muti is returning to Chicago soon and a summer concert schedule could be jeopardized if there's no deal.

The CSO says it appreciated Emanuel's offer and looked forward to working with the union in fashioning what it calls "a mutually acceptable contract."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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