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Chicago musicians strike after rejecting contract

Published: Monday, Sept. 24, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

CHICAGO – A contract dispute over higher health care costs and pay has left the start of the 2012-2013 season of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra up in the air.

Saturday's 8 p.m. concert with conductor Riccardo Muti was canceled less than two hours before it started because of a musicians' strike. It's the first CSO walkout since 1991.

The musicians' contract expired days ago, but they played the first concert Thursday and a free one Friday.

CSO association president Deborah Rutter said Muti is "very, very disappointed."

No contract talks have been scheduled.

CSO members committee chairman Steve Lester said the three-year contract included a jump in health care contributions to 12 percent from 5 percent.

The union rejected the proposed contract that would have also included some pay increases.

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