Union workers at Philadelphia Museum of Art plan one-day strike

People gather on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, Sunday, March 15, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

People gather on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, Sunday, March 15, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

At the end of August, the union representing workers at the Philadelphia Museum of Art voted to strike, if necessary, during ongoing contract negotiations.

Now, they’ve decided to make good on that threat.

Union workers will not report to work at the museum on Friday. Instead, they’ll picket in front of the iconic museum and other PMA locations including the Perelman Annex and the Rodin Museum.

The union includes workers in visitor services, retail, conservation, and other facets of the museum.

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The union was formed in 2020 and has been negotiating its first contract with management for 22 months. In August, it filed charges against the museum with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming management violated labor law by replacing full-time staff positions with temporary positions, reducing the size of the union’s bargaining unit.

“Museum management needs to stop union-busting and make serious offers that improve workers’ wages, healthcare, and parental leave,” said DC47 president Cathy Scott. “Our membership would not have authorized a strike if they were not united in these demands.”

Union leaders said if there’s no real progress in negotiations, they are prepared to take further action.

“We are disappointed that the union has chosen to strike, but we remain focused on reaching a fair and appropriate contract with the union,” a museum spokesperson said in a statement released Friday. “When eligible staff voted to unionize, we immediately and unequivocally pledged to negotiate in good faith and we have done so. The museum has devoted significant time and energy to the negotiations, and we have made considerable progress, reaching agreement on more than 25 substantive issues.”

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