Closed: The Marciano Art Foundation, housed in a former Scottish Rite Masonic Temple on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which was in discussions to represent visitor services workers at the Marciano Art Foundation in Los Angeles, before the private art space abruptly laid off the staff and closed its doors, has announced a nationwide boycott of the collectors' luxury jeans business, Guess, on Black Friday — Americas busiest shopping day.

But the decision came as something of a surprise to union organisers from the now shut museum, who say they were not initially advised about the action. AFSCME is one of the largest, most powerful unions in the country, and earlier this month, the group filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of the Marciano Art Foundation workers. The filing claimed that the museum engaged in illegal union-busting practices.

Ultimately, the axed Marciano workers have thrown their support behind the Guess boycott. “The Black Friday actions are an opportunity to show that our movement is just one branch of a much larger community of workers and labour advocates,” says Eli Petzold, who lost his job at the Marciano Art Foundation alongside other arts workers. “The Marcianos have antagonised organised labour for decades now… I doubt we can disabuse them of that stance,” he adds. “But now is as good a time as ever to remind them that the labour community looks out for its own, is ready to speak up and flex for its own.”

Accordingly, workers have sought to forge bonds with their colleagues at other art institutions across Los Angeles. Last week, organisers picketed an event for the local profit LAXart, whose artistic director is Olivia Marciano. Organisers have also been in contact with workers at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, where employees recently announced their own intent to unionise. (MOCAs top post is endowed as the Maurice Marciano Director, currently held by Klaus Biesenbach, the former director of MoMA PS1 in New York.)

Institutions' responses to unionisation efforts in Los Angeles have been terse. After initially ignoring requests for comment from the press, the Marciano Art Foundation said it had “no present plans to reopen”. For its part, MOCA released the following statement: “While we respect the right of employees to decide whether or not they wish to bRead More – Source