Chicago Symphony musicians on strike after talks break down

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CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians say they are on strike after contract talks broke down.

They say in a news release that picket lines will form starting at 8 a.m. Monday. They say management is still trying to reduce their pension benefits after nearly a year of negotiations.

The musicians walked out after completing a Sunday afternoon concert and negotiating all evening.

Steve Lester, bassist and chair of the musicians’ negotiating committee, says they “have been clear from the beginning that we will not accept a contract that diminishes the well-being of members or imperils the future of the orchestra.”

The contract expired Sept. 17, 2018, and was extended to March 10.

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Helen Zell, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association board chair, says trustees are disappointed but still “look forward to the eventual resolution to a new contract.”

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