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Brooklyn Museum Union Signs First Contract

The contract, which lasts for three and a half years, boosts pay by more than 23% over the life of the contract and reduces the cost of health care benefits for employees and part-time staff, in addition to other provisions.
Exterior of the Brooklyn Museum.

After nearly two years of negotiations, the Brooklyn Museum Union finally voted to ratify its first-ever contract with the Brooklyn Museum.

The Brooklyn Museum Union, affiliated with United Auto Workers Local 2110, has been negotiating with museum management for a fair contract since January 2022. The vote was on Nov. 7, just one day before the Brooklyn Museum Union planned to go on strike. 

The contract lasts for three and a half years, boosts pay by more than 23% over the life of the contract, reduces the cost of health care benefits for employees and part-time staff, and sets aside $50,000 per year for professional development for employees to use.

“We’re thrilled to have finally reached this agreement with the museum,” said Elizabeth St. George, an assistant curator of Decorative Arts. “I will now have the opportunity to do the work I love at a museum I love in a workplace with union rights.”

The contract also established layoff protections, a health and safety committee and a joint labor-management committee, as well as differential pay for workers who take on extra work due to vacancies or temporary absences.

“It not only raises the economic situation of workers at the museum but also establishes much more protection and job security and workplace rights for people and it’s quite a transformative deal,” Maida Rosenstein, the director of organizing for UAW Local 2110, told BK Reader.

Click here for a summary of the contract provisions.

Interior of the Brooklyn Museum.
The inside of the entrance area of the Brooklyn Museum. Photo: Shenal Tissera for BK Reader.

Back in August 2021, 130 workers at the Brooklyn Museum — including curators, conservators, educators and part-time workers — voted to unionize in affiliation with the UAW Local 2110 union, which also represents workers at the Guggenheim, Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Union members made sure their voices were loud and clear throughout the fight for a fair contract. They protested outside the main entrance of the museum during its VIP Artists Ball last April, and Theirry Mugler VIP Gala in November 2022.

“We’re so pleased to have reached an agreement with our UAW-represented staff," a Brooklyn Museum spokesperson told BK Reader. "We believe this agreement reflects the Museum’s ongoing commitment to important wage equity investments across the organization and is the right decision for our staff and the economic sustainability of the Museum.”

According to the union contract summary, “The Museum is still contesting the eligibility of certain positions that the Union believes should be included in the unit. The eligibility of these positions will be determined by the National Labor Relations Board.”

The National Labor Relations Board has not yet made a determination on the union eligibility of these positions that the museum is currently contesting. Check back for updates.

Shenal Tissera

About the Author: Shenal Tissera

Shenal Tissera is a Staten Island-born freelance writer.
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