Chicago Symphony Board and Musicians Ratify New Four-Year Contract

Classic Arts News   Chicago Symphony Board and Musicians Ratify New Four-Year Contract
The musicians and management of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra have formally approved a new four-year contract, effective immediately and extending to September 2011, that includes raises for the players averaging 4.05% each year. The orchestra announced the agreement today and revealed some provisions of the contract, on which negotiations were completed last week.

The CSO musicians are receiving a relatively small immediate raise of 2.7%, with the annualized minimum salary rising from $114, 400 to $117,520. After six months, however, annual minimum salary increases by 4.4% to $122,720. The following two 12-month periods (beginning and ending in March) bring raises of 4.7% and 3.8%, with minimum annual salary rates of $128,440 and $133,380, respectively. The final six months of the contract term, mid-March to mid-September 2011, sees a raise of 3.9% to a minimum annual salary of $138,580. (Many of the musicians, principals and associate principals in particular, are paid more.)

In exchange, the players agreed to revised scheduling provisions, particularly with respect to "split orchestra weeks" (when part of the roster plays one program and the remainder plays a different one) and to the timing of orchestra-wide vacations, that will give CSO management more flexibility in planning the regular season at Orchestra Hall, summer performances at the Ravinia Festival and tours. As under the previous contract, the CSO may schedule 10 Sunday concerts per year.

The orchestra's pension plan has been amended so that a musician must accrue 35 years of service (up from 30) in order to retire with the maximum pension (currently $75,024 annually); in exchange, the entire pension scale has been raised. In addition, the CSO musicians (like the rest of us) will see increases in co-payments and deductibles under their health insurance plan.

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