Dalelorenzo's GDI Blog

Brooklyn Museum Workers Move to Unionize

Workers at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City are reaching moves to unionize. Harmonizing to the New York Times, Local 2110 UAW entered a union vote petition today on behalf of 130 works, including full-time and part-time curators, conservators, lecturers, and visitor services representatives.Natalya Swanson, a management comrade who has been involved in the organizing effort, cited job security, pay equity, and upward mobility as the main reasons for forming a union. As of September 2020, the museum had laid off 27 employees and furloughed a number of part-time staff assemble over $75,000 a year, distributed according to a museum spokesperson.“A lot of us previously are of the view that our undertakings were perilous, ” said Emma de Matteo, construction workers in Visitor Experience and Engagement, in a statement shared with Hyperallergic. “During the pandemic, we understood collaborators laid off and furloughed and it genuinely reinforced our feel of job insecurity. A league is absolutely necessary to protect our jobs and improve the basic terms of our employment.”

While the Brooklyn Museum is often lauded as a progressive foundation, applying a staff that is approximately 51% BIPOC, some workers have spoken out against a starkly different world behind closed doors. Amid Black Lives Matter shows last summertime, dozens of current and former employees signed an open note denouncing “the harm and daily mistreatment” of staff of color at the institution. Former works told Hyperallergic that when they read the missive out loud during an all-staff Zoom meeting, museum superintendent Anne Pasternak urged them not to spill the document to press. In interviews, they accused leadership of fostering a culture of reprisal and silencing.

Located in a chiefly Black neighborhood, the Brooklyn Museum has also been at the centre for human rights of numerous complains is attributable to social justice and racial equity. In 2018, during the run of the exhibition This Place, activists entered the museum and rewrote labels for photos of Israeli-occupied Palestinian provinces to include their Arabic lists. The activity led to the creation of Decolonize This Place( DTP ), a big grassroots movement founded to uncover skill prisons' ties to dirty money and their hoarding of looted artifacts, which has since guided acts protesting Warren Kanders at the Whitney Museum and NYPD's over-policing.

“Unionizing is an extension of our existing institutional commitment to nurturing a diverse parish of endowment, ” said Akane Okoshi, a researcher at the museum." Labor needs to be recognized as a core principle of social justice work.”

The union drive is the last in a recent spate of collective labour agreements expeditions at New York City establishments. Last-place week, workers at the Whitney Museum of American Art announced their intent to constitute trade union organizations, also with Regional 2110 UAW, which represents hires at prisons across the country.

In response to Hyperallergic's request for comment, a spokesperson said," The Brooklyn Museum respects the rights of our employees to consider and evaluate association representation and is committed to a cooperative, fair and respectful process in order to achieve the best outcome for our personnel ."

Read more: hyperallergic.com

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