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Phila. Art Museum feels heat over labor dispute

Monday, April 12th, 2010

The Philadelphia Museum of Art was in the hot seat at a City Council budget hearing, as council members grilled the director over labor contract policies.  The museum receives some city funding for its operations.

At issue was is whether the museum should require its security provider to pay higher wages to guards.

The Museum subcontracts with Allied Barton for its security. Recently the Museum guards formed a union but Allied Barton doesn’t recognize it.

They filled half of City Council chambers as the Museum’s director and it’s president faced Council for a budget hearing.

Councilman Wilson Goode, Jr., pointed out to president Gail Harrity that the guards are paid less than the minimum wage required in all city office “The question is whether you believe the Museum falls under the city’s minimum wage and benefits standard. “The answer is our legal counsel says it does not fall under”

Museum director Timothy Rub would not say if the institution will require higher wages for security guards in its next contract with Allied Barton.

As part of his budget testimony, Rub is asking for $2.3 million from the city for maintenance and security, which  Рhe says Рis less than half of what is needed. He pointed out that for 65 years until 1995 the city paid those costs in full.

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