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Guggenheim Museum Management Signs Contract With The IUOE After A Year Of ‘Tense’ Negotiations - Three-Year Agreement Covers 22 Full-Time Employees & 145 On-Call Staff

Published Friday, February 19, 2021
by Hakim Bishara/hyperallergic.com
Guggenheim Museum Management Signs Contract With The IUOE After A Year Of ‘Tense’ Negotiations - Three-Year Agreement Covers 22 Full-Time Employees & 145 On-Call Staff

(NEW YORK CITY) - After more than a year of tense negotiations, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York has signed a contract with International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 30, the Union representing the museum’s Art Handlers and facilities Staff.

The three-year contract covers 22 full-time Guggenheim Employees - including Engineering and Facilities Professionals and Art Services, Preparation and Fabrication Specialists - and 145 On-Call Staff who are hired to prepare, install and maintain exhibitions.

The agreement includes an increase in wages for Unionized Workers and new standards of transparency and parity in scheduling shifts, work rules and job levels.

The two parties also agreed on Unionized Health Care Programs for full-time Workers at no cost-sharing for the Workers.

According to the agreement, Workers represented by IUOE Local 30 who receive retirement benefits will no longer be required to pay into their retirement plan, but the museum will continue to contribute its share.

“Throughout negotiations, it was clear that management understood the level of work we produce in support of world-class exhibitions, but that they had no intention of compensating us fairly,” said Bryan Cook, a Member of the Guggenheim Union, in a conversation with Hyperallergic. “We fought them and won an average wage increase of ten-percent, bonuses, premium-free health insurance for families, transparent scheduling practices, safety improvements and dignity.”

The workers, who voted to Unionize with the IUOE in June of 2019, often accused the museum of dragging its feet and negotiating in bad faith.

Most recently, they staged a protest at the re-opening of the museum in September after months of closure due to COVID-19.

The Workers greeted museum visitors with a “protest truck” carrying digital screens with messages that read: “We Deserve a Better Guggenheim,” “Fair Contract Now,” and “#DoBetterGuggenehim.”

Earlier in September, the Artist Collectives Artists for Workers and the Illuminator projected messages onto the Guggenheim’s facade in solidarity with the Union and Workers at Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

The guerrilla projection illuminated the museum’s building with slogans like “Fair Contract,” “Seeking New Management,” and “Open for Exploitation.”

The groups held their actions independently of the Guggenheim Union.

During their pressure campaign for a contract, the Workers also sent a letter to the Guggenheim’s Trustees, urging them to exert their influence with the museum’s “reluctant” management.

To Continue Reading This Labor News Story, Go To: https://hyperallergic.com/622396/guggenheim-signs-union-contract-local-30/

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