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Tentative pact suspends CSO strike

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Updated: October 26, 2012 6:11AM

A tentative settlement was reached Monday night in Chicago Symphony Orchestra strike, the musicians’ union and the CSO Association announced.

Both parties have tentatively agreed to a three-year contract, with ratification pending by the Chicago Federation of Musicians, which represents the CSO players, and the CSOA board of trustees. Details could be announced as early as Tuesday.

The tentative settlement means that all four CSO concerts scheduled for this week will go on as planned. A CSO rehearsal previously booked for 10 a.m. Tuesday with music director Riccardo Muti also will proceed.

“At approximately 6:45 p.m. Monday, we reached a tentative agreement,” said CSO bass Stephen Lester, chairman of the Orchestra Members Committee. “At this point, we will have a meeting of the orchestra [at 9 a.m. Tuesday] morning, and we will present the tentative agreement for ratification. I expect to be rehearsing tomorrow. We will recommend passage to the musicians, so we are no longer on strike.”

The proposed contract will be retroactive to Sept. 17, 2012.

Contract talks, which began last summer, reached an impasse over health-care costs. The players walked out Saturday night, just hours before a scheduled CSO subscription concert. The CSO Association’s demand that musicians pick up a greater share of their health-care costs would have erased a proposed wage increase, the union said.

The CSO’s 2012-13 season began Thursday with the fall’s first subscription concerts under Muti at Symphony Center. The CSO and Muti then performed a free concert Friday night at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.

This week’s CSO concerts consist of two subscription concerts on Wednesday and Friday, a concert Thursday in Ann Arbor, Mich., and the annual Symphony Ball fund-raiser on Saturday. The tentative agreement also means that the CSO’s upcoming concerts next month at New York’s Carnegie Hall and its historic first concerts in Mexico will proceed as scheduled.

Contributing: staff reporter Mitch Dudek

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