Jan 11, 2019

Staff at the New Museum initiated the process of forming a union.

The New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City. Photo by CTG/SF, via Flickr.

The New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City. Photo by CTG/SF, via Flickr.

Members of the staff at the New Museum are taking steps to form a union, to be named NewMuU-UAW Local 2110, which will be related to UAW Local 2110, an amalgamated union with branches at several other New York City museums—including the Museum of Modern Art, where workers protested last summer amid protracted contract negotiations. The nascent New Museum union is seeking to ensure greater diversity and inclusivity in the institution’s staffing and hiring decisions, and more sustainable compensation for workers in all areas of the museum.

A statement posted online explains that the staffers organizing the union come “from across all the Museum’s departments.” It adds:

Forming a union will enable us, as well as future New Museum employees, to effectively advocate for changes that will make the New Museum a more sustainable and equitable institution. We believe in the New Museum and its mission; we want it to succeed. But we also recognize a need for critical changes at this moment in the Museum’s growth.

The statement also alleges that the New Museum administration “has chosen to mount a harsh anti-union campaign,” and even hired an “anti-union consulting firm.” In a statement quoted by ARTnews, the New Museum said: “We want [the museum’s staff] to make a fully informed decision. In the meantime, we look forward to working with our staff to serve our audience and community.”