Nancy Pelosi backs Chicago Symphony strikers

Nancy Pelosi backs Chicago Symphony strikers


norman lebrecht

March 19, 2019

The speaker of the US House of Representatives issued this statement tonight:

‘It is an honor to send my greetings to the men and women of the Chicago Federation of Musicians. Every day, your incredible talents and hard work enrich the community. Democrats stand in solidarity with you in asking the Chicago Symphony to come to the table with respect for the value of your work.’



  • dennis says:

    Shut the hell up terrorist

    • Bill says:

      Methinks Dennis doth protest a bit much.

      Perhaps his manhood is just a little bit threatened…And by a 78 year old woman, no less.

  • Mick the Knife says:

    She should butt out. I say that as one who backs the CSO 100%. This issues here should not be politicized. But once again, we see politicians doing their best to polarize people along political lines.

    • Jarod says:

      Why shouldn’t she comment? It’s the Republicans that are aiming to cut arts funding all the time but never the military.

    • Cyril says:

      Well it’s the Republicans who politicized the issue by virtually destroying Labor in the U.S. Standing up for Labor shouldn’t be a political issue, but it is now.

  • Barry says:

    I don’t care about the political views of any artists or entertainers and I don’t care about Nancy Pelosi’s view on this issue. The fact that she’s butting in where she doesn’t belong is another strike against her in my view.

  • fflambeau says:

    Good for her. She is speaking the truth.

  • Tamino says:

    Strange. She should stay out of it. Her solidarity is needed by those, who really are robbed of the fruits of their productivity by evil corporations. Amazon et al.
    Not a symphony orchestra in the US, that – as excellent it might be and that might very well deserve a raise to counter inflation and buffer pension woes – depends for its income on its status as top entertainment for the wealthy capitalists, the upper 1%. As is the truth for all US symphony orchestras, mainly depending on private philanthropy.

    • Caravaggio says:


    • Mick the Knife says:

      I can’t comment on ticket prices for the CSO, but I know of a top 15 orchestra that you can often see for $15 – $25. For the most part you a BSer, low of facts, making a snide, irrelevant remark against the least repressive form government there is.

      • Tamino says:

        I wouldn’t consider plutocracy, as evident in the US, the least repressive form of government. There are other countries on this planet that are less repressive and more democratic. But the masses have food (kind of) and cheap entertainment, so we can’t expect them to complain much, as long as people in poorer countries are exploited to foot their bills…

  • DD says:

    CSO Musicians’ Compensation At A Glance

    Annual Salary
    $159,000 minimum
    $187,500 average
    $209,000 average total from all CSO work

    12 weeks Paid Time Off Minimum annual per CSO musician

    Annual Retirement Benefit
    ~$77,000 pension benefit per year Current estimated annual retirement benefit for a musician with at least 35 years of service

    Note: The CSOA must pay $36,000,000 over the next 8 years to fund pension liability.

    For CSO musicians in 2017-18, prior to negotiated improvements:
    Musician Healthcare Premium Contribution Increases of
    Wage Increases of $998/week
    2005-2018 Healthcare Contribution Increases vs. Wage Increases
    Total 2018
    healthcare cost for
    CSO musicians:

    • Tom says:

      I can only guess how your average overworked and spectacularly underpaid UK musician feels reading that and wondering why the CSO would go on strike. For UK musicians, those rates and conditions are like Xanadu, Shangri La and heaven all rolled into one. Oh, and laughably out of reach.

  • “Nancy Pelosi has no business in commenting on this!”…so say nine out of ten anonymous internet bots who have no business commenting on it.

    Why the fury over a three sentence text message?

    Because they saw her working a few weeks ago when all she had to do was fold her hands on her lap, repeat “Mr. President….” a few times, and he caved.

  • Edgar says:

    Seh has to conduct a divided chamber, and a dangerous manchild in the WH. Would not want to wish that on anyone. She’s a sly old fox, and the current session of Congress cannot be without her. Now, if she only finds ways to allow younger, creative, and real progressive blood revive an ossified (and not so democratic) Democratic Party….

  • Cubs Fan says:

    She’s pandering to Obama’s & Rahm’s Chicago. Nothing less. The real questions should be asked: How many Chicago Symphony concerts have you been to, Nancy? Do you support the National Symphony in DC? The San Francisco Symphony? How many classical cds have you bought? Do you know Beethoven from Brahms? She’s just another sorry, brown-nosing politico.

    • SF Symphony Employee says:

      Actually, Speaker Pelosi is well-versed in classical music being a regular attendee of San Francisco Symphony concerts when she can get away from Washington, D.C.. She is always warm and gracious to everyone backstage, and does not discuss politics, she talks about the concerts.

    • Cyril says:

      Wrong. Even if she’s never been to a classical music concert in her life, supporting labor is supporting labor.

  • Sam Seattle says:

    Just another examples of how the democrat party still supports the wealthy ! The old guard still rules and trump and republicans are laughing all the way

  • Steve says:

    I am a Democrat living in Illinois who also happens to be an avid CSO supporter, but I find it absolutely ludicrous that the Illinois congressional representatives came down yesterday to speak. I’ve never seen any of them at any concert ever before and it was pretty clear to me that they were using the musicians’ situation for their own political purpose/agenda, which is super disheartening to see. If they really cared, they should be pushing measures to fund the arts in schools, etc…

    • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

      They were there for the photo ops. Makes perfect sense for Chicago and Illinois.

    • Musician says:

      Speaking as a musician of the CSO, the point about pursuing their agenda is very likely true, however I would not accuse them of not ever coming. The day after the rally, a man came and spoke with us while we were picketing. I recognized him as I have seen him at several concerts, I thought he was a supporter and fan, however during the conversation (I was not directly involved in) I figured he was a political figure. After he left I asked a colleague who this man was and boom, another congressman, who also happens to be a subscriber. Just because people are not seen, doesn’t mean they are not present. Our own attorney has been a subscriber for decades and I never noticed him. It’s easy to get lost in the crowd.

      Thank you for your support!!

  • chpchun says:

    Another idiot politician making an unnecessary PANDERING statement, desperate for support…