Unions file complaints of unfair labor practices at New York City museums

New Museum in New York City.
New Museum in New York City.
Lewis Tse Pui Lung / Shutterstock
The New Museum Union has charged that the museum engaged in unfair labor practices.

Unions file complaints of unfair labor practices at New York City museums

Unions at the New Museum and the Tenement Museum have seen members of their bargaining units laid off.
August 13, 2020

The New Museum’s union has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relation Board alleging the museum laid off all members of the union’s bargaining unit in a discriminatory and retaliatory act, Hyperallergic reports. 

Local 2110 UAW’s complaint, filed late last month, also accuses the New York City-based museum of withholding information needed for bargaining and issuing warnings to staff based on social media posts. 

A spokesman for the museum noted the institution’s significant loss of income which has led to reduced staffing, while also reiterating commitments to allow more part-time workers to get health benefits and continue reduced salaries for leadership. 

Similar concerns of unfair labor practices were also recently leveled at the Tenement Museum, which has faced major financial losses. The Tenement Museum Union filed a complaint against the organization after it laid off 76 employees, which reduced the size of its bargaining unit by about 86%.

“The statements and conduct of some Museum representatives have made it all too clear that the pandemic closure is being used as an opportunity to circumvent our unionization,” the union wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. 

With museums still facing financial disarray and reopening still uncertain, it’s likely that employees of the city’s arts and cultural institutions will continue to face headwinds. 

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.