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Lyric Opera May Strike

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The Lyric Opera of Chicago might not have an opening night Saturday. The orchestra is threatening to strike.

The musicians say they’ll strike if there’s no agreement by curtain time. Cellist William Cernota chairs the orchestra members committee. He says the members can’t agree to a pay freeze and then shorter seasons that will essentially cut pay.

CERNOTA: We have given and that’s not good enough for Lyric. They want us to give, give, give, more and more. That’s where we have fallen apart, and that’s why we are so far apart. We’ve made offers that we feel tax us to the limit, and we’re unwilling to go further with that.

He says the orchestra is willing to take a pay freeze and then a cut if there are raises to fill the gap later in the contract.

Lyric General Director William Mason could not be reached. But in published reports, he says musicians are “irresponsible” to consider striking in this economy.

The two parties are continuing negotiations this afternoon.

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