Chicago symphony may cancel more concerts; strike continues

Members of the renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra carry signs as they strike on March 11, 2019 in Chicago, after 11 months of pay talks failed to reach an agreement. - The musicians say the company is asking them to reduce overall salary and benefits despite increasing revenue from sales and donations. Kamil Krzaczynski / AFP

CHICAGO — The Chicago Symphony Orchestra may cancel more concerts after striking musicians rejected what it calls its last, best and final offer on a new contract.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association President Jeff Alexander called it “an exceptional, comprehensive compensation package” in a statement early Tuesday.

Members of the Chicago Federation of Musicians voted down the offer Monday. Steve Lester, chairman of their negotiating committee, says the union’s proposal addressed management’s concern about pension funding “while guaranteeing the Musicians and the Orchestra the security deserved.”

About 100 of the orchestra’s musicians have been on strike since March 11 . The union is at odds with the orchestra over pension and wage issues.

The striking musicians have received support from congressmen, musical theater performers and their own maestro, renowned Italian conductor Riccardo Muti.

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