United Automobile Workers

Nov 08 2023

Brooklyn Museum Workers Ratify First Union Contract

Workers at the Brooklyn Museum, members of UAW Local 2110, voted overwhelmingly to ratify their first contract yesterday, one day before the union had been set to strike on November 8.

“We’re thrilled to have finally reached this agreement with the Museum,” says Elizabeth St. George, an assistant curator of Decorative Arts. “I will now have the opportunity to do the work I love at a Museum I love in a workplace with union rights.”

The staff’s union, Local 2110 UAW, had been in negotiations for a first union contract since January of 2022 and has held repeated protests at the Museum over its low wage offer and unfair labor practices. Workers announced the November 8 strike deadline two weeks ago. 

The new three-and-a-half-year contract will boost pay by over 23% over the life of the contract, raising minimum pay rates and guaranteeing annual increases.  The contract also reduces the employee’s share of health premium costs, expands eligibility for health care benefits to part-time staff averaging 20 hours per week and establishes an annual $50,000 set aside for professional development.

“This agreement will bolster salaries and invest in staff professional development,” says Lauren Bradley, an associate conservator who has worked at the Museum for more than 8 years. “This contract will lay a solid foundation for building long term professional careers at the Museum.”

The contract also establishes a joint labor-management committee, a grievance procedure with binding arbitration, layoff protection, a health and safety committee and differential pay for workers who take on extra work when a position is unfilled. See HERE for a summary of the contract provisions.

“The hard work of Museum staff is behind the Museum’s incredible exhibitions and programs.” says Samantha Cortez, Senior Registrar. “Having a contract that raises our pay rates and spells out legally enforceable rights is an acknowledgment of the important contribution we make as a staff.”

Staff of the Brooklyn Museum voted overwhelmingly to unionize in August 2021 with Local 2110 of the UAW, a technical, office and professional union that represents workers in museums, cultural institutions and universities. In recent years, thousands of museum workers have organized and fought for higher wages. Local 2110 recently settled contracts with the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim, the Jewish Museum and the Hispanic Society Museum and Library.

“I’m incredibly proud to have been part of this effort,” says Owen O’Brien, Development Campaign Manager. “We came together as a group of workers, and we made our voices heard.”

Communicate with:  Maida Rosenstein, maidarosenstein@2110uaw.org, 917-495-8492

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Contact Information

Jonah Furman

Feldman Strategies, team@feldmanstrategies.com