DETROIT (WWJ) – The striking musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra say they will return to work without a contract in an effort to end the nearly five-month walkout.

Speaking to reporters, Tuesday, union spokesman Greg Bowens described it as a gut-wrenching, but necessary decision.

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“We know that this is an important engine for the Midtown area, and we’d like to exhaust every possible avenue in trying to get that place back open and get folks working again,” Bowens said.

Bowens said there was no immediate response from DSO management.

“Just because you extend a hand of friendship, doesn’t mean that the other person is going to accept it. We’re hoping not to get smacked in return,” he said.

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Orchestra spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt said this is “an encouraging development” but said management cannot respond until they have all of the details.

Last month, the remainder of the season was suspended after musicians rejected what management described as a  final offer. Earlier this week, the entire DSO percussion section accepted other jobs outside of the state.

Musicians have been on the picket line since Oct. 4 when management of the financially struggling orchestra implemented a 33 percent base pay cut in the first year of the new contract. Musicians had offered a 22 percent reduction.

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