Workers at Dia Art Foundation Vote to Unionize

The staff at the Dia Art Foundation announced Tuesday that they voted officially to unionize with Local 2110 Union of Auto Workers, which also represents museum staff members at the Guggenheim, MASS MoCA, the Whitney, and many others.

The National Labor Relations Board tallied up the ballots of union-eligible staff members and found the vote passed with 90% in favor. Eligible staff includes archivists, managers, gallery attendants, curators and many more positions.

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“We are officially the Dia Union!” the Dia Union Instagram account posted Tuesday. “Thank you to our union-eligible colleagues, the wave of organizing in arts institutions, and everyone who supported our efforts. We are looking forward to sitting down with Dia leadership to start bargaining.”

More than a hundred staff members are now represented by the Local 2110 UAW across Dia’s many locations, which includes their large museum in Beacon, in New York’s Dutchess county, as well as galleries in Manhattan and Bridgehampton, with outposts in New Mexico and Germany.

Dia staff organized for a union around certain key issues, including low wages.

“Dia’s development in Beacon has actually driven up the cost of housing here. Most of us can’t afford to live in the area, not on Dia wages,” said Joel Olzak, a gallery attendant at the Beacon space, said in a past statement.

Gallery attendants make, at maximum, $16 dollars an hour, which is well below a living wage for a single-person living in Dutchess county. According to the MIT living wage calculator, a living wage for a single person in Dutchess county is $20.18, or at least $39.27 if one has a child.


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