Massachusetts Museum of Art workers back day strike

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Unionized workers at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, frustrated with progress in contract negotiations, have authorized a one-day strike for later this week.

Workers at the North Adams Museum, commonly known as MASS MoCA, have scheduled a strike and picket outside the museum from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, according to a statement released Monday.

“We have asked our members to strike because Mass MoCA failed to negotiate in good faith a fair contract for the employees who make it successful,” said Maro Elliott, the museum’s head of institutional giving and member of the committee of union negotiation. in a report. “We want an agreement with Mass MoCA that will create a more accessible, fair and just workplace.”

The union, affiliated with United Auto Workers Local 2110, represents about 100 full-time and part-time workers, including curators, educators, administrative staff, visitor services, janitors and d other workers.

The workers, citing low pay and job insecurity during the coronavirus pandemic, formed the union early last year, joining staff at other renowned museums who have unionized, including the Museum of Boston Fine Arts and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The museum will remain open during the one-day strike, with directors replacing key positions, a spokesperson said.

“While we respect our employees’ right to strike as a way to express their opinions, we are also disappointed with their decision, given the positive and collaborative environment we have worked to foster during our bargaining process. collective with the UAW,” a spokesperson for the museum. Jenny Wright said in an email.

The average wage for unionized museum workers is $17.30 an hour, according to the union. The union wants a minimum hourly rate of $18 in the first year of a contract and increases over the next two years, bringing that rate to around $20 an hour. The museum is offering a minimum of $16 an hour with no guaranteed raise in 2023 and 2024, the union said.

In a social media post, the union asked people planning to visit the museum on Friday not to cross the picket line and to reschedule their visits. The union has also filed unfair labor practice charges against the museum with the National Labor Relations Board, citing what it calls “bad faith negotiations.”

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