The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association held its second teleconference press conference on Monday, 3/18/19 and as luck would have it, I’ve been unable to attend both. Nonetheless, Chicago Tribune reporter Howard Reich authored an article for the paper’s 3/18/19 edition that includes his overview of the conversion. While most of the conversation seems unremarkable, one comment stood out.
For those unaware, Chicago is amidst an historic mayoral election where the two run-off candidates are both African-American women.
One candidate, Toni Preckwinkle, appeared alongside musicians on their picket line and declared later on Twitter “I’m proud to stand with the striking @MusiciansChiSym of @CFM10208 as they fight for wages and benefits they need to thrive!”
I’m proud to stand with the striking @MusiciansChiSym of @CFM10208 as they fight for the wages and benefits they need to thrive! It’s time @chicagosymphony settle a fair contract with #csomusicians. Stand with your musicians! pic.twitter.com/Ny2m4CQdy4
— Toni Preckwinkle (@toniforchicago) March 14, 2019
The other candidate, Lori Lightfoot, offered a similar position via Tweet: “I stand in #Solidarity with Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians in their fight for a fair contract. The CSO is an important institution in this city, and the musicians deserve fair wages, benefits, and retirement security.”
I stand in #Solidarity with Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians in their fight for a fair contract. The CSO is an important institution in this city, and the musicians deserve fair wages, benefits, and retirement security. https://t.co/MAJ4CAMUP2
— Lori Lightfoot (@LightfootForChi) March 11, 2019
According to Reich’s report, when asked about those statements, CSOA President Jeff Alexander opted for a pointed reply:
“We’ve made a decision to make no response to her inappropriate comments.”
And qualifying their comments as “inappropriate” constitutes what, exactly, if not a response?
Granted, a press conference is the last place where someone can consider remarks with the luxury of time. But it never hurts to remember that may not be the sort of seed you want to sow with someone who will be your city’s next mayor.