This morning about 100 Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) employees who are members of the United Autoworkers’ Local 2110 delivered an open letter to museum director Glenn Lowry in his office. The union members also launched an online petition calling on MoMA to offer them a fair contract. Today marks the tenth negotiation session between Local 2110 and the museum, which is demanding that the workers accept higher healthcare costs, reduced raises, and other cuts to their benefits. Since they held a public protest on June 2, the Local 2110 workers have met with the museum’s administration several times, but the negotiation sessions have all amounted to naught.
The letter delivered to Lowry, signed by almost all of the roughly 280 MoMA employees who are members of Local 2110, asks that the institution’s administration not “follow a negative trend that would severely undermine the economic security of its staff.” The workers’ contracts, last renegotiated in 2010, are set to expire on Friday — the original date was May 20, but the deadline was extended by a month so that talks could continue. MoMA’s Local 2110 workers last went on strike when contract renegotiation talks stalled in 2000. The strike lasted 134 days.
“MoMA’s last strike, in 2000, was resolved in part because of public awareness,” a museum employee and Local 2110 member, who spoke to Hyperallergic on condition of anonymity, said of the impetus for the petition. “It would only cost MoMA roughly half a million dollars to resolve this whole mess. Considering that we recently found out that the director makes close to $3 million dollars a year, versus the $1 million we thought he earned, we’re all wondering what the confusion is all about.”