Unionized staffers at New York’s Jewish Museum have voted to ratify their first contract with the Manhattan-based institution, securing scheduled pay increases of 3% each across the contract’s three-year duration on top of additional benefits and protections.
The museum’s employees began pushing to organize between late 2021 and early 2022, citing job insecurity, wage inequality, working conditions, and lack of transparent employment policies as their main points of concern. In May 2022, organizing workers voted to officially unionize under Local 2110 United Auto Workers (UAW), which also represents unions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, among others.
“The whole process of unionizing our workplace has been transformative for us as museum staff, and it’s empowering to know we have legally enforceable rights supporting us and our work,” said Amelia Kutschbach, an editor at the Jewish Museum, in a union statement shared with Hyperallergic.
The union’s contract summary outlines a 3% pay increase effective October 1 on top of the same increase that kicked in on July 1, as well as scheduled annual increases of 3% for 2024 and 2025. A 0.5% ratification bonus is also set to be distributed within three weeks of the contract ratification.
Another major win for the union was a secured minimum wage of $21 an hour for museum store and visitor services employees that is set to increase annually by $1 within the contract duration, as well as a $35 an hour wage for art handlers and $39 an hour wage for framers. The museum’s part-time educators have outlined increases for timed museum tours and exhibition preparation that are scheduled for a 3% boost by the end of the contract.
“The Jewish Museum is glad to have reached its first collective bargaining agreement with UAW Local 2110 that addresses the needs and concerns of its valued staff,” the museum’s Acting Director Darsie Alexander told Hyperallergic.
The Jewish Museum Union also succeeded in negotiating frozen healthcare premiums for employees throughout the contract’s duration, internal job postings for career development, 12 weeks of paid parental leave for employees with over three years of service to the museum, and a labor and management committee to address concerns.