IUOE Local 30 has won the election to unionize workers at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and is a few weeks away from bargaining with representatives of the art institution.
“The workers overcame an anti-union campaign from Guggenheim’s administration and they voted for the union,” said Andres Puerta, director of special projects of Local 30. “They are now preparing for negotiations, but it has only been a couple of weeks.”
The Guggenheim employees were fed up with the museum because of low wages, poor benefits, jobs protections and overtime issues, according to Puerta.
At the Museum of Modern Art, the base pay is $74,532, according to Paysa.com, a website that examines compensation and salaries for different firms. In comparison, the base pay at the Guggenheim is $49,675.
“The workers now are coming up with their proposals,” said Puerta. “Work schedules are a big concern for the workers.”
Over the years, according to Puerto, art installers at the museum have had problems with inconsistent work schedules — sometimes being told not to come to work at the last minute, and therefore losing out on freelance work from other museums.
Safety has also been a concern at the Guggenheim.
“The workers believe that management speed-up has led to lack of safety at the facility,” said Puerta. “That’s the gist of one of their concerns and they are looking to addressing it.”