A demonstration on Tuesday by workers at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) did little to advance negotiations between a union representing over 200 employees at the institution and museum administrators, who are maintaining their call for a cut to employee healthcare coverage. MoMA and Local 2110 of the United Auto Workers have until June 20 to negotiate a new contract for the union members employed by the museum. The workers’ five-year contract expired on May 20, but the museum and union agreed to extend it one month in order to resolve the dispute over the proposed healthcare cuts.
Danny Fermon, a longtime MoMA employee and member of Local 2110’s negotiating committee, told Hyperallergic today that no progress was made at Wednesday’s meeting with the museum, in spite of the previous night’s protest — timed to coincide with MoMA’s Party in the Garden, one of its biggest annual fundraising galas. He expects there will need to be more demonstrations like Tuesday’s before the museum hears its workers’ plea. A spokesperson for MoMA, meanwhile, declined to comment on the outcome of Wednesday’s negotiations, but reiterated “that the Museum remains committed to providing fair and equitable compensation and healthcare for its employees, and that we are working toward a positive outcome for all concerned.”
As both sides dig in for more negotiation sessions over the next two weeks, MoMA’s Local 2110 members are making ingenious use of social media to call attention to their plight far beyond 53rd Street. Through the Instagram account @MoMALocal2110, the employees are offering brief profiles of the union members, each accompanied by a portrait and occasionally a pun or joke incorporating an artwork on view at the museum. The account, run jointly by a group of MoMA workers, helps to put faces, names, and stories to the often murky business of organized labor and contract negotiation.