Workers at Dia Art Foundation voted to officially unionize with Local UAW 2110 in a landslide September 13 election: 101 workers voted “yes” and only six employees voted in opposition.
Yesterday’s victory came nearly two months after Dia employees petitioned to unionize in July, citing low wages and a lack of job security and recognition. Now, the newly unionized workers will elect their negotiating committee, conduct a survey to determine their bargaining priorities, and begin negotiating a contract with Dia, a process that takes an average of 13 months.
“Dia respects our staff’s decision to unionize and we look forward to working constructively and openly with Local 2110 moving forward,” a Dia spokesperson told Hyperallergic.
As members of Local UAW 2110, Dia employees join unionized workers at a host of other cultural institutions, including New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the New Museum, the Bronx Museum of Art, and the Tenement Museum.
The nearly 50-year-old Dia Art Foundation displays site-specific installations, curated exhibitions, and boasts a collection of mostly sculptural works from the 1960s and ’70s. The museum has outposts in Utah, New Mexico, and Germany, but its largest location is in the upstate town of Beacon, New York. The recently unionized employees work in Beacon as well as the foundation’s locations in New Mexico, Manhattan, and Bridgehampton, Long Island.
Dia workers’ election victory comes as unionization efforts continue to sweep museums across the country. Recent labor wins include decisive votes at the Baltimore Museum of Art and New York’s Jewish Museum, and in the last month, workers at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Massachusetts’s MASS MoCA authorized strikes protesting “lowball” wages and unfair labor practices.
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