As Museum of Modern Art donors gather in the museum’s garden on Thursday to hear a St. Vincent performance and pay homage to trustee Agnes Gund, the institution’s union members will congregate outside the midtown museum for a very different event. MoMA Local 2110––a union for museum curators, librarians, and other staff––will stage a sidewalk demonstration, dubbed a “Party on the Pavement,” to raise awareness as they attempt to negotiate with the museum over issues like rising out-of-pocket costs for health care benefits, the use of temporary workers, and unpaid employee overtime. The union staged a similar demonstration three years ago, when they chanted phrases like, “share the wealth, protect our health,” and “modern art, ancient wages,” to advocate for better pay for all employees. Speaking with ARTnews, UAW Local 2110’s president Maida Rosenstein laid out some of the recent concerns around health care.
“Three years ago we agreed to make substantial changes in health care to help the museum out, because they said that the premiums for the health care were going up at an extraordinary rate. We agreed to changes in the plan, that did bring the premium cost down. Now, the members out-of-pocket costs have increased dramatically and we’re asking the museum for some relief on this. They’re refusing to address it at all, claiming that issue was settled in the last contract and they don’t want to reopen the issue.”
When asked for a comment by ARTnews a MoMA spokesperson said, “MoMA’s extraordinary staff are the best in the world. We are committed to working with the Local 2110 to reach an agreement that will keep our community of dedicated staff and the museum on a path of financial stability and future growth.”