Musical staff

MASS MoCA union staff will strike on Friday

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – MASS MoCA employees who formed a union in April 2021 and have been bargaining with the museum since last summer for their first contract are planning a work stoppage and picket line on Friday, August 19 to protest this which they characterize as a lack of progress in the talks.

“We have asked our members to strike because MASS MoCA failed to negotiate in good faith a fair contract for the employees who make it successful,” said Maro Elliott, head of institutional giving and member of the bargaining committee of the union. The employees’ union is part of Local 2110 UAW.

The union is asking for a minimum wage of $18 an hour for the first year of the contract and increases in 2023 and 2024 that would bring staff closer to $20 an hour by the end of the contract, according to a union statement. . The museum is offering a minimum of $16 an hour and no guaranteed raises in 2023 and 2024, the union said.

The current average wage in the bargaining unit is $17.30 an hour, and two-thirds earn less than $15.50 an hour, the union said. According to the Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator, for a modest life in Berkshire County, a single person without children would need to earn $40,000 a year, or $19.23 an hour for a 40-week week. hours.

“While we respect our employees’ right to strike as a way to express their opinions, we are also disappointed with their decision, given the positive and collaborative environment we have worked to foster during our bargaining process. collective with the UAW,” the museum spokeswoman said. Jenny Wright said via email Monday.

The bargaining unit is made up of approximately 100 full-time and part-time employees, 96% of whom voted to join UAW Local 2110. It is a technical, clerical and professional union that represents museums and cultural institutions in the Northeast, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, the Jewish Museum, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and many other non-profit and educational institutions.