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Arts and Culture

Portland Museum of Art Employees Vote To Unionize

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Craig Becker
/
Courtesy Portland Museum of Art

Workers at the Portland Museum of Art have voted to form a union.

The museum says that workers voted 16-10 to join UAW Local 2110, which represents technical, office and professional workers at workplaces including the ACLU and the Museum of Modern Art. Organizers announced the vote on social media Thursday night.

The new union is expected to cover about 35 workers, but not security guards or gallery ambassadors, who were ruled ineligible by the National Labor Relations Board last week.

Local 2110 President Maida Rosenstein says workers at many museums have recently begun organizing, particularly as the effects of the pandemic led many to be furloughed or laid off.

"People lost jobs or were furloughed for long periods of time. And had no recourse, no ability, sometimes even, to find out information," she says.

Rosenstein says PMA employees have faced obstacles in their efforts to unionize, but are feeling encouraged as they begin negotiating.
"We're very hopeful that it will be a new chapter, and with the museum, we will begin preparing very soon to go into collective bargaining negotiations, which is the whole point of unionizing," she says.

A spokesperson for the museum says that the PMA accepts the result of the election and "looks forward to bargaining in good faith with the union."