New Museum union charges that institution retaliated against bargaining unit members


New Museum employees during their union organising campaign

The union representing workers at the New Museum in New York said today that it had filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board charging that the institution laid off and furloughed bargaining unit members in a “discriminatory and retaliatory act”.

On 30 June the New Museum laid off 18 full- and part-time staff members, culling them from 41 workers it had furloughed in March. The layoffs reportedly amounted to a 27% reduction in the museums full-time staff. In a series of Twitter and Instagram posts today outlining its complaint, the union contends that the museum had been “targeting vocal union supporters and decimating our bargaining unit”.

“We dont think its a coincidence that both [union] stewards and the unit chair and everyone who was on the bargaining committee were laid off or furloughed,” says Dana Kopel, the museum union's former unit chair and a onetime senior editor and publications coordinator at the museum, in an interview. “I feel like I was walking around with a target on my back in that place since we went public.” Kopel was laid off on 30 June.

On 6 August the New Museum announced that it would recall 23 of the 41 workers who had been furloughed since March. There was no immediate response today to requests for comment from the museum on the unions allegations.

In the past the New Museum has cited a budget shortfall resulting from its closure and the evaporation of income during the coronavirus epidemic as the reason for its “tough decisions”.

The March and June job actions came after an overwhelming vote in January 2019 by New Museum employees to form a union chapter and become part of Local 2110 of the United Auto Workers. After long negotiations, the museum and the union then reached an agreement last October on a five-year contract providing for salary increases, more paid time off and reductions in the cost of health care.

“It seems like the museum is taking care to get rid of people who vocally supported the union,” Kopel says. “It feels targeted.” She adds, “We wanted to make sure that the workers are being taken care of and the contract is not being violated and members are getting the information they need.”

In its posts on Twitter and Instagram, the union says its complRead More – Source


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