Report: Tenement Museum Workers Unionize
The front-facing staff of the Tenement Museum, after many failed attempts throughout the years, have finally agreed to unionize.
A vote was held last week in which all education, retail, and visitor services employees mobilized to join Local 2110 UAW (United Auto Workers). The measure passed by a 96% margin.
The vote was spurred by ongoing reports of low wages, scarce benefits, and unstable working conditions (i.e. high employee turnover). Ironic, given the thematic nature of the museum.
“We are a museum that prides itself on sharing the history of working-class people in New York and the Lower East Side, and sharing the difficult and successful stories of working-class labor,” said Anna Szapiro, an educator and costumed interpreter at the museum, in a conversation with Hyperallergic. “It’s only appropriate that the museum would then, in turn, do everything it could in order help its own workers to achieve that success.”
This is the second successful museum unionization for the city in 2019; the first also residing on the Lower East Side at the New Museum, which unionized this past January.
The Tenement Museum’s take?
“The Museum will bargain in good faith to try to arrive at a collective bargaining agreement that meets the needs of both the museum and its employees … We look forward to engaging in a productive collective bargaining process.”