United Museum Workers Win Union Election at Carnegie Museums

United Museum Workers

We Won!

This week the NLRB counted the ballots for our long-awaited union election. The final vote count was 278 to 75, and we won a wall-to-wall union across all four of the Carnegie Museums. We are now the biggest museum union in the country!

Since October 2019 we have been organizing a union to advocate for all workers at the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. Because our union includes a diverse range of roles and responsibilities across the four museums and central operations, we can pool our collective expertise to fight for better working conditions, open communication, and fair compensation for ourselves and future generations of museum workers.

Along with better pay and benefits, we filed for our 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. We overcame huge obstacles including museum closures, employee furloughs, and a deadly pandemic. Despite all the difficulties, this union campaign was something that 2020 could not take away from us.

125 years ago, steel magnate Andrew Carnegie founded his museums and public libraries on the principle that the American worker could attain the good life through self-education and cultural enrichment.

That cultural legacy is the product of the blood and sweat of millions of steel, iron, and coal workers throughout the region who labored for low pay in extremely hazardous conditions. Today, those who work in museums and other cultural institutions are struggling, as the nonprofit sector copes with changing audiences and revenues.

We have voted to affiliate with the United Steelworkers, honoring and hoping to improve upon the history of Carnegie Steel and the City of Pittsburgh. By joining the United Steelworkers, the largest industrial union in North America, the UMW unites with the workers who built the fortune that built the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

Our goal is to build the best, most welcoming and safest museum system for workers and for the people of the Pittsburgh area. 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.

A new phase is beginning. All are welcome, all are needed. We achieved this victory together.

We’ll be reaching out in the new year with a survey to determine our bargaining priorities! Each of us knows best what we need to succeed in our work. Questions? Want to get involved? unitedmuseumworkers.usw@gmail.com

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