Just in, from the Chicago Federation of Musicians:
Responding to the distorted information sent by CSO President Jeff Alexander to Musicians of the Orchestra and to the press, the Negotiating Committee sent the following to their members. There are two negotiating sessions tomorrow, before and after the 3:00 pm concert. If no agreement is reached the strike will commence at midnight and twelve-hour picket lines will begin Monday morning, March 11, at 8 am
To: Members of the Orchestra
From: The Negotiating Committee
Re: Last night’s email
We are sure you have seen Jeff Alexander’s email last night detailing the Association’s version of their contract proposals. While there are some encouraging aspects to the Association’s proposal they do not come close to addressing our fundamental concerns. What remains clear is that the Association is not offering wages that will keep us competitive with other major orchestras. The percentage increase they propose is less than virtually all other major orchestras, dropping us further behind relative to those groups, and does not keep pace with inflation. They also propose to eliminate our guaranteed retirement benefit. The core difference between our plan and their proposal is that our plan has a guaranteed benefit funded by the Association. Their proposal strips the membership of that guaranteed benefit, and shifts the investment risk to the individual member. Jeff’s email paints an unrealistic, snake oil, “rosy scenario” sales job of their proposals. Jeff also fails to mention the other concessions the Association continues to demand, such as reducing sabbatical weeks, reducing substitute pay, and eliminating the $3,000 annual individual pension supplement.
We are grateful to all of you that have reached out in support of the committee. This proves that the attempt to divide the orchestra is failing. The Association’s attempt to subvert the negotiation process is unprecedented in the 50 year history of our collective bargaining.
We appreciate the wonderful support you have given us over this entire process. We are here to serve you and understand our obligation to ensure the future of the orchestra.
Your negotiating committee
More details of the CSOA offer here.