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Brooklyn Academy of Music Employees Vote in Favor of Union

BAM administrative workers and cinema staff voted in favor of forming BAM’s seventh union by an 82% margin. “It’s heartening to see workers coming together and standing up for themselves,” one employee tells Hyperallergic.

The Brooklyn Academy of Music (courtesy of Hadley Suter)

The administrative workers and cinema staff at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in New York have voted in favor of a union. About 82% of the voters (119 out of 145), voted “yes” for joining Local 2110 UAW (United Auto Workers).

“We’re excited about this forward momentum,” Jesse Trussell, a BAM film programmer and one of the organizers at the union told Hyperallergic in a phone conversation. “It’s just the first step in working together. We look forward to sitting down at the bargaining table with BAM and working together for providing a strong contract for everyone.”

In May, BAM workers shared with Hyperallergic their discontent over alleged worsening working conditions including the reduction of benefits, 401k matching, and healthcare, in addition to transforming full-time jobs to hourly part-time jobs, which render workers ineligible for benefits.

Members of the BAM union join peers at Guggenheim Museum, Tenement Museum, and the New Museum who have recently unionized. Members of Local 2110 also include workers at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum, and the New-York Historical Society.

“We were inspired by workers at the Tenement Museum and the New Museum who had incredible campaigns over the last few months,” Trussell said. “You can feel this wave of people who work in cultural institutions come together in solidarity. It’s heartening to see workers coming together and standing up for themselves.”

Update 6/13/19, 8:27pm: In an email to Hyperallergic, the academy said, “BAM respects the decision of our employees and is committed to forging a good relationship like we have with the six other unions that represent BAM employees.”

Editors note 6/13/19, 8:30pm: One sentence in the original version of this article misnamed the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) as the Brooklyn Music Academy. This error has been revised.

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