Striking Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians ask Orchestra Association to resume negotiations

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Musicians with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra held a news conference Wednesday and have asked the Orchestra Association to resume negotiations to resolve the seven-week strike.

Pensions and pay are at the center of the strike.

Members started walking the picket lines back on March 10. Earlier this month, the musicians rejected an offer that management called its, "last, best and final offer." The musicians said it would leave them too far behind orchestras like San Francisco and Los Angeles.

"We are not going to get anywhere unless we talk," said Steve Lester, chairman of the CSO Musicians Negotiating Committee. "The damage that is being done to this institution is almost irreparable. It's time to move."

All orchestra concerts through the end of the month have been canceled.

The CSOA issued a statement Wednesday saying, "It is unfortunate that Chicago Federation of Musicians (CFM) did not contact the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA) to resume scheduling negotiating sessions prior to their publicity event this morning. There is an agreed upon scheduling process through either the federal mediator or the attorneys directly and the Association has not been contacted since our last negotiating session on April 16. Negotiations and meeting scheduling do not occur at a press conference. The union's suggestion that the Association is unwilling to negotiate is false. The Association has been, and remains open to return to the negotiating table. This is where both parties can consider genuine proposals to respectfully reach consensus on a new contract."
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