The Philadelphia Museum of Art and the PMA Union, affiliated with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, District Council 47, have reached a three-year tentative agreement, union leaders and the museum’s director announced Friday. PMA, Sasha Suda.
The PMA board and the union’s executive committee approved the terms of the agreement on Friday. The 180 union members will vote on the package on Sunday.
“I feel good with the terms. They met everything we asked for,” Adam Rizzo, PMA union president, say it Philadelphia plaintiff.
“The museum gave in on every issue we were fighting over. We won everything we asked for,” added Rizzo.
The strike, which began on September 26, lasted 19 days as the union and the museum could not reach an agreement largely on wage increases. The union had rejected the PMA’s initial offer of wage increases totaling 8.5% over the next 10 months and 11% by July 1, 2024.
News of the tentative agreement came just as the museum was about to open a blockbuster Henri Matisse exhibit, with a protest originally planned for the exhibit’s VIP opening on Saturday. This action has since been cancelled.
On social media, the union had accused the museum of hiring outside art handlers, whom the union called “scabs”, to install works from the Matisse exhibit during the strike. Asked about it earlier this week, a PMA spokesperson declined to comment.
The new deal, union leaders told the Applicant, included salary increases retroactive to July and increases of 14% over the next three years. The minimum hourly wage for museum workers is expected to increase from $15 to $16.75. Workers will also benefit from reduced health care costs and four weeks of paid parental leave.
“Today’s victory is an example of what happens when workers come together in a union to demand better wages, fair treatment and respect in the workplace,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. , the largest union of public sector employees. statement.
“That’s why cultural workers at museums, libraries and zoos across the country have started a wave of worker organizations that is taking over the industry, and we’re proud they’re part of the family. AFSCME.”
The deal, if approved on Sunday, will end a process that took more than two years. PMA workers voted to unionize in August 2020 and negotiations have dragged on ever since.
As ART news‘s Alex Greenberger reported at the time, the organizing effort came in the wake of major unrest at the museum and the George Floyd protests:
For much of this year, Philadelphia museum management has faced controversy over how it has treated workers in the face of multiple scandals. In January, the New York Times reported that Joshua Helmer, who was previously director of the museum, had requested dates employees in exchange for professional promotion. At the time, the museum said it aimed to be “free from harassment or inappropriate behavior of any kind” and pledged to investigate its work culture.
The findings of a third party investigation consulting firm were reported in July by the Philadelphia plaintiff. According to the article, two male directors have been accused of abuse (neither of whom are still believed to be employed by the museum), as well as allegations that the establishment’s management has not done enough to combat the discrimination.