Employees at the Brooklyn Museum are taking steps toward forming a union, continuing a wave of organizing that has swept New York institutions over the past few years.
Workers at the museum are seeking increased job security, higher wages, and greater transparency. The New York Times reported that about 130 employees were involved in the bargaining unit, among them curators, conservators, editors, fundraisers, educators, and members of the visitor services department.
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The Brooklyn Museum workers are seeking to join Local 2110, a United Auto Workers group that also includes unions at the Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and the New-York Historical Society. Workers at the Whitney Museum announced a push to join that group last week.
In a statement, Akane Okoshi, a researcher at the museum, said, “Unionizing is an extension of our existing institutional commitment to nurturing a diverse community of talent. Our ability to advance the Brooklyn Museum’s professed institutional goals of creating a more connected, civic, and empathic world is contingent on the passion and labor of workers. Labor needs to be recognized as a core principle of social justice work.”
A representative for the Brooklyn Museum did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Since 2018, when New Museum employees began pushing to form a union, workers have banded together to organize groups at museums across the country. Over the past few years, unions have been formed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, the Portland Museum of Art, MASS MoCA, and other institutions.