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Carnegie Museum workers file for union election

By staff |
October 26, 2020
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Pittsburgh, PA - Approximately 500 scientists, educators, art handlers, front staff, gift shop clerks, ushers and other workers from across the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh system today announced Oct. 20 they filed for a union election as they seek to join the United Steelworkers (USW).

The group, working under the banner of the United Museum Workers, announced their organizing drive on June 29 and are now seeking a formal vote through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

“Our movement began with concerns about transparency and limited career opportunities, but it now has even greater urgency as it’s expanded to address furloughs, pay cuts, and safety issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Katie Pirilla, an art handler at the Carnegie Museum of Art. “Workers continued organizing throughout the pandemic and found renewed strength in our fight for a safe museum for employees and the public alike.”

By filing for a certification election, the United Museum Workers seek to create a wall-to-wall collective bargaining unit comprising the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, the Carnegie Science Center, the Andy Warhol Museum, and central administrative staff.

“Our group represents a diverse range of departments, duties, interests and ideas, but what all of us need is a seat at the table and a voice in the museum’s decision-making process,” said Ryan Martin, a sales associate in the Carnegie Museum of Art gift shop. “The founder of our museums, Andrew Carnegie, made his fortunes on the backs of thousands of workers who labored for low pay in extremely hazardous conditions. We intend to honor this legacy by voting for union representation.”