December 15, 2020
Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, firstname.lastname@example.org, (412) 562-2450
Workers across the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh system voted overwhelmingly to join the Pittsburgh-based United Steelworkers (USW) union.
The workers will become part of a 500-member USW unit called the United Museum Workers. They serve as scientists, educators, art handlers, front desk and administrative staff, gift shop clerks, ushers and other workers at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Carnegie Science Center and the Andy Warhol Museum.
“We are thrilled to become members of the strong and diverse labor union whose founding members helped to build the fortune of our museum’s namesake,” said Gabi DiDonna, associate registrar at the Carnegie Museum of Art. “We look forward to having a seat at the table and a voice in the decisions that affect our quality of life both on and off the job.”
The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh system was founded in 1895 by steel giant Andrew Carnegie. The system’s workers announced their USW campaign in June with an online rally.
Along with better pay and benefits, the workers filed for their election in October with an agenda to seek inclusivity in hiring, greater accessibility, increased transparency, a safer work environment, and a voice in the museum’s decision-making process.
Aiyana Kachmarek, gallery attendant at the Andy Warhol Museum, said that the COVID-19 pandemic helped to fuel the organizing effort by bringing to light on-the-job health and safety concerns that some workers may not have considered before.
“Our goal is to build the best, most welcoming and safest museum system for workers and for the people of the Pittsburgh area,” said Chloe Deardorff, program presenter at the Carnegie Science Center. “The best way to do that is through collective action. We look forward to sitting down and bargaining a first contract that helps us to reach those goals.”
The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, mining, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, the service, public and health care sectors and higher education.