As organizing accelerates, workers at the Brooklyn Museum vote to form a union

Full-time and part-time workers at the Brooklyn Museum have voted to form a union, Local 2110 of the United Auto Workers (UAW) has announced. The vote follows successful labour organizing efforts at a range of US museums including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the New-York Historical Society, the New Museum, and the Hispanic Society of America.

The Brooklyn Paper reported that 96% of the employees eligible for representation at the Brooklyn Museum–among them, 110 curators, conservators, editors, visitor services employees, and others–voted last week in favour of joining the UAW chapter. The museum did not immediately respond to requests for comment, nor did UAW Local 2110 specify the vote tally.

In May, Local 2110 filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board seeking to represent the Brooklyn Museum workers. Among the employees’ most pressing concerns were adequate wages, improved job security, and greater transparency about decision-making, particularly in view of the coronavirus pandemic.  

Last year, after revenue plummeted amid a shutdown in response to the pandemic, the museum laid off over two dozen employees, a move that awakened workers to their vulnerability.