Earlier this month employees at the Baltimore Museum of Art went public with their plans to unionize.
The workers announced their intention to affiliate with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) local council 67. In a statement, the organizers argued that a union would create a more inclusive and equitable institution and give workers a voice in the museum’s decision-making process. The union’s platform includes job security, fair and livable wages, staff advancement for all, having a seat at the table for decision-making, holding management accountable, and manageable workloads.
One of the union’s organizers Alex Lei said that the pandemic was a driving force in his decision to work for the union. “When management decided to reopen after closing due to the pandemic, those of us working front of house weren’t really part of the conversation and didn’t know what to expect. We were told to come back and at the time it wasn’t clear that the safety protocols in place were enough to ensure our protection,” Lei said in a blog post on the AFSCME website.
Workers are asking the Baltimore Museum of Art to voluntarily recognize their union. In a statement, the museum responded, “…the BMA respects the right of our staff to unionize, and we have affirmed in communications to all colleagues that should a majority vote to form a union that the Museum will work collaboratively with union representatives.”