Rev Jen Speaks Out About Tenement Museum Firings

Posted on: May 24th, 2013 at 5:32 am by

tenement-museum-ad-1

Earlier this week, we exclusively revealed the purported behind-the-scenes turmoil at the Tenement Museum. Within the last few months, the neighborhood institution axed much of its staff. We’re told that several employees were either “forced to resign, fired or bullied until they had no option except quitting.” Rev Jen, known around these parts for her unique Troll Museum, was one of the unfortunate. She posted a statement on her personal website, and we’ve reproduced it here:

On Tuesday I was fired from the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. I had worked there since 2001, was there on the morning of 9-11 and was an incredibly dedicated employee. During my employment there, I worked part-time (approximately 30 hours a week) and never received health insurance or even a sick day. Funny because the museum espouses “labor reform.” Still, I came to work, hardly complained and watched the visitors’ center grow into a million-dollar a year “business” (despite it officially being a non-profit). I read a huge amount of the literature in the store and was therefore great at selling books. This year, specifically, my schedule was switched to Friday-Monday, which meant I never had a weekend. I worked Black Friday, Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, which meant I also didn’t get to see my family. And on the days off I did have, I was too broke to travel to see them.

I wasn’t sure things there could get more Dickensian until this past week, when on a quick work break, I walked to get coffee and tripped on a crack in the Delancey Street sidewalk, smashing my face in. It was literally a bloody mess. (Though thank you Omega 7, it is healing.) And more thankfully, a woman passing by who knew a nearby EMT took me to him. I am still in pain. My lip is still split and my neck suffered minor whiplash, given I swiveled my head around as I fell to avoid breaking all my teeth. Of course I couldn’t go to a doctor (no insurance!) and probably needed stitches but instead suffered the indignity of high school kids calling me “two-face.” (As someone pointed out, at least they read Batman!)

Since I was drenched in blood, I was obviously sent home from work that day. That Friday I was still in pain, but took 4 Advil and tried to come in. The manager, Jes, asked me to work in the basement, even though I was always best on the sales floor, at my register. The girl who took my place was almost half my age. Guess you have to be without facial scars and young to sell books. The next day I came in and was sent home because Jes told me I needed a “mental health day” even though my problem was obviously physical. Then, having finally gotten Sundays off (something they agreed to 2 weeks ago), a manager named Rachel called me on a Sunday and left me a message telling me I needed to take another “mental health day” on Monday. I called her and told her I didn’t need one. She said, “Don’t call me on a Sunday!” I said you just called me on a Sunday.” I felt like Alice in Wonderland trying to play croquet with a flamingo. Nothing made sense.

Then Rachel told me I had a meeting on Tuesday with Mary Kate, yet another manager. I sat down in the conference room on Tuesday with Mary Kate and Barry Roseman (who is the director of operations) and they told me I was “terminated.” I asked Barry why. He said, “I’m not giving you a reason.” I persisted and he told me I needed to leave the conference room because he had an important meeting. I refused. He finally screamed at me, “insubordination!” and stormed out.

And that’s how it went down. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise since the managers (Mary Kate, Jes and Rachel) have fired many other people in the past 2 months – all hard workers with great personality. I guess personality equals being fired there.

Please boycott the Tenement Museum. As I said before, they espouse labor reform while not practicing it. Al Smith is rolling in his grave right now.

Recent Stories

85 Bowery Landlord Responds to Vacate Order, Alleges Illegal Conversion of Apartments to SRO

The controversial landlord of two Chinatown tenements is now responding to the ongoing drama with the embattled tenants of 83-85 Bowery. You’ll recall that last Thursday evening, as part of the ongoing legal case between the two parties, the State Supreme Court ordered an inspection of 85 Bowery. An alphabet soup of city agencies and […]

‘Spitzer’s Corner’ Closes for Renovations

For the first time in a long time, the southeast corner of Rivington and Ludlow Streets is relatively quiet. Ten-year-old Spitzer’s Corner closed this week for a slight makeover. Signs announcing the onsite renovations appear in the doorway of the establishment. This is an expected development. As previously reported, hated Hell Square operator Rob Shamlian is […]

Saying Goodbye to the Sunshine Cinema Before its Imminent Demolition

Ain’t no sunshine when it’s gone. Nor light from that fabulous marquee. Landmark Theaters’ Sunshine Cinema ended its Lower East Side tenure Sunday night after nearly two decades on East Houston Street. We paid a visit on the penultimate night, and it was mobbed with moviegoers getting their last licks before another neighborhood favorite meets the wrecking […]

‘La Caverna’ Nightclub Heads to SLA for its Multilevel Expansion on Rivington Street

When La Caverna first proposed its concept for Rivington Street in 2002, it was presented as an Italian restaurant. In fact, it was a bait-and-switch club that still has some Lower East Side residents are still coping. Now ownership hopes to expand La Caverna with a multilevel experience. Fooled once, yes. Not again. Fifteen years […]

Chad Marlow Resigns from CB3 After Removal from Committee Chair Position Over Liquor Density Fight

Newly appointed Community Board 3 chair Alysha Lewis Coleman stepped into controversy last week when she reportedly sacked member Chad Marlow from his post as Transportation committee chair, a seat he’s held for little more than a year and a half. And today he is completely resigning from the advisory board. The major bone of […]