“We knew it was only a matter of time before the @newmuseum
started coopting our union wins for their PR,” the New Museum Union wrote in a tweet yesterday, August 6, “but this is appalling.”
The tweet was in response to the New Museum’s announcement yesterday that it will recall 23 workers who have been furloughed since March. Last month, the museum laid off 18 of its furloughed workers. The rehired workers will return to work on August 17 in preparation for a potential fall reopening, the museum said.
In an email to staff on Tuesday, which the museum shared with Hyperallergic, the New Museum’s director Lisa Phillips wrote, “These unprecedented times have called for tough decisions, and losing staff has been the most difficult.”
She added, “Through June we lost $2.9M in income. We cut $1.8M in expenses, still leaving a $1.1M shortfall. This year, we’ve reduced our operation and budget by 30% and are projecting an additional significant shortfall.”
In a statement sent to Hyperallergic, union representatives said they are pleased that the museum has brought back furloughed employees, “as we’ve encouraged them to do in several effects bargaining meetings over the past few months,” but emphasized that the museum has laid off 25 employees since the start of the pandemic. These workers include 16 bargaining unit members and several security guards, according to union representatives.
“Now that the museum has dumped so many union supporters — our whole steward committee was laid off, our whole bargaining committee laid off or furloughed — they can go back to pretending they’re some progressive institution,” the union tweeted. “Let us remind you all again that they’re not.”
“The layoffs disproportionately targeted unionized and other low-paid workers at the Museum,” the group told Hyperallergic.
Of the 23 returning workers, 14 are union members. They occupy positions in various departments across the museum, including security and maintenance, visitor services, education, external affairs, and the museum’s store.
The union says that about 45 of its members who are part-time art handlers and contract registrars and are “effectively still furloughed” because no new exhibitions are being mounted.
In response, a spokesperson for the New Museum told Hyperallergic: “Art handlers and contract registrars were not furloughed; they are part-time, seasonal workers who are called in for shifts when exhibitions change (which typically occurs three times per year). Since the New Museum remains closed and there have been no exhibition changes, they have not been called in.”
The union says that only 22 of its 84 members are currently employed by the museum.
Phillips’s email to staff promised to extend health benefits to part-time workers as “part of a move towards greater equity.”
The union has fought for extended health benefits during long and strained contract negotiations with the museum’s management.
“That was one of the first economic proposals we gave them in negotiations, and they told us we were delusional for even suggesting it,” the union tweeted. “This is gaslighting.”
Phillips also announced that pay cuts for senior management, which were announced in April — 30% of her salary and 10%-20% for other executives — will continue through next year.
To that, the union said: “Let us remind you that as they parade around their executive pay cuts, Lisa Phillips is still making at least $500,000 while 25 people now have no income and no health insurance during a pandemic.”
Curator La Tanya S. Autry shares a set of crucial questions she considers when curating images of anti-Black violence.
Crys Yin’s subject is grief, which, for all that takes place in public, is largely a private matter.
The first lecture is on the relationship between early portrait photography and diverse notions of US identity during the Gilded Age. Register to attend on January 25.
With her clay relief sculptures, Brie Ruais probes the exit wound and its deep psychological implications.
In Doomscrolling, Rob Swainston and Zorawar Sidhu assume the task Walter Benjamin set for the articulation of history — to “seize hold of the past as it flashes up at a moment of danger.”
Part of the university’s Artists on the Future series pairing renowned artists with cultural thought leaders, this online event is free and open to the public.
When we honor King publicly, as many in the art circle did on Monday, we use these moments to do more than just remember and pay tribute.
A study that reexamined Homo sapiens fossils found our species is 30,000 years older than previously believed.
As much as I appreciate the collective’s culture jamming initiatives, I don’t know that their putative premise ever bears meaningful fruit.
The banana’s dominance and ubiquity has had serious and far-reaching implications for the region, engendering exploitative labor systems, climate change, and migration.
Charles Dellheim’s study tells the tale of a small group of Jewish art dealers and collectors who played a key role in the changing art world of the 19th and 20th centuries.