Dozens of unionised staff on the Massachusetts Museum of Up to date Artwork (Mass Moca) in North Adams, Massachusetts went on a one-day strike immediately (19 August). Members of the museum’s union, which represents round 100 full-time and part-time staff working as educators, curators, custodians, museum attendants, admissions workers, artwork fabricators, technicians and extra, voted 96% in favour of the one-day strike. The union introduced its plans to strike final week in an effort to name consideration to the continuing bargaining course of with Mass Moca’s administration.
Employees on the museum started organizing within the fall of 2020 and formally voted to unionise in April of 2021. Maro Elliot, a member of the organising and bargaining committees, and the museum’s supervisor of institutional giving, describes the present state of negotiations as “disappointing”. The union and museum management have but to agree on a primary contract.
Points that prompted the union to organise immediately’s strike are associated to wages, advantages, grievance and arbitration procedures, union safety and pathways to development on the museum. Forward of the strike, the union launched a fund that may allow staff who misplaced a day of pay due to their participation to nonetheless be compensated.
“We’re nonetheless far aside on quite a few crucial points which might be essential to us and our members,” Elliot says. “The union is disillusioned by the change in tenor from the museum that has occurred since negotiations began. We discovered the museum to be extra agreeable towards the union throughout the organising and voting interval. Nonetheless, the museum has been way more antagonistic towards the union throughout the time that we’ve been bargaining, and I place plenty of duty on the techniques being utilized by the museum’s authorized illustration.”
The common wage within the Mass Moca bargaining unit is at present $17.30. Nonetheless, about two thirds of the bargaining unit’s members make beneath $15.50 per hour. The union is looking for a minimal price of $18 per hour for the primary yr of the contract and will increase in 2023 and 2024 that might increase workers compensation nearer to $20 per hour by the tip of the contract. Nonetheless, in keeping with the union, Mass Moca’s administration is proposing a $16 per hour minimal and no assured will increase in 2023 and 2024.
The union has filed quite a few unfair labour follow expenses in opposition to the museum with the Nationwide Labor Relations board (NLRB). One latest criticism was filed following a promise the museum made with reference to “further raises” for sure staff if they may persuade the union to decrease its wage calls for.
The museum remained open immediately regardless of the union’s walk-out. The Berkshire Eagle reported that the museum’s upper-level workers are overlaying for these placing immediately. Whereas the strike is just deliberate to final at some point, Elliot says the union is open to contemplating further actions.
“Whereas we respect our staff’ proper to strike as a way of expressing their views, we’re additionally disillusioned of their determination, given the constructive and collaborative setting that we’ve labored to foster,” a museum spokesperson says. “All through negotiations, we’ve constantly demonstrated a willingness to hear and genuinely think about the union’s calls for—and when their proposals supplied for a constructive worker expertise, and supported our museum tradition of teamwork, collaboration and excellence, we welcomed and labored with these targets.”
The Mass Moca union is an element ofLocal 2110 of the United Auto Employees (UAW), which additionally contains staff at cultural establishments, nonprofits and museums throughout the Northeast and past such because the Museum of Fantastic Arts in Boston, the Portland Museum of Artwork in Maine, the Whitney Museum of American Artwork, the Guggenheim Museum, the Jewish Museum and elsewhere.