Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Union Reach Agreement in Principal, Mayor Says

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.

Striking musicians and the management of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra reached an agreement in principal Friday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

"The symphony is an integral part of Chicago's rich cultural fabric, but its economic impact extends beyond the musicians and management to the stagehands, ushers, restaurant servers and hotel workers whose livelihoods depend on a thriving symphony," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "I am pleased to announce that, after convening both parties at City Hall for a successful negotiating session, the management and the musicians have reached an agreement in principle to bring the music back to Symphony Center."

Both parties accepted Thursday an offer from Emanuel to help end a nearly two-month work stoppage over pensions and wages.

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 said at the time 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 said it appreciates Emanuel's offer and looks forward to working with the union in fashioning what it calls "a mutually acceptable contract."

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