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Chicago Symphony Orchestra OK's Contract

Chicago – Musicians in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra approved a three-year labor contract that provides a raise after a year but grants concessions on benefits, officials said.

The contract, approved shortly before a performance began Saturday night, freezes the musicians’ base salary at $104,000 for the first year but grants increments every six months thereafter, topping out at $114,400, company and union officials said in a joint statement.

The Chicago Federation of Musicians and the symphony association’s board of trustees approved the agreement. The last contract had been scheduled to end Sept. 12 but was extended three times.

The symphony orchestra faces an operating deficit of $11.1 million and demanded concessions.

The union agreed to reduce the size of the orchestra through attrition from 111 musicians to 106. Musicians also agreed to freeze annual pension benefits at $63,000 for the life of the contract and to begin paying a portion of their health care premiums.

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