Details of New Agreement Between Lyric Opera of Chicago & Orchestra Revealed

By David Salazar

Details for the labor agreement between the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra and the Lyric Opera of Chicago have emerged.

While management did not divulge details in its announcement on Saturday, the members of the orchestra released a statement noting that ultimately they ratified the agreement though there was still work to be done.

“The musicians will never stop fighting for that ideal; but at this time, the music needs to return to the Civic Opera House,” the statement’s opening paragraphs noted. “Further cancellations by Lyric management were threatened, and the result would have been destructive for everyone – Lyric, the musicians and other Lyric employees, and Lyric’s loyal patrons.”

They also noted that the agreement was reached out of respect of other unions affected by the work stoppage imposed by the labor dispute that had started Tuesday with the musicians’ strike and continued throughout Saturday.

Per the statement, the orchestra’s new “concessionary contract” will see a reduction in orchestra members by four, instead of five as originally proposed. There will still be a reduction in the number of main opera season weeks, but there will be a 5.6 percent increase in weekly salary over the three-year period.

The 2019-20 season will feature five guaranteed additional weeks to the 22-week season (there were originally just four guaranteed weeks). The healthcare benefits will be maintained and there is a family leave for eight paid weeks.

There are also unnamed improvements to working conditions as well as a guarantee of employment for 37 orchestra members for the Spring musical with a salary increase of 6.6 percent.