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The Jewish Museum in New York Joins the Fight for a Unionized Art World

The workers of this prestigious and historic institution have petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for a union election.

Sarah Frankie Sigman

January 12, 2022
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The Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum, located on Manhattan’s “Museum Mile,” was the first institution of its kind in the United States and is one of the oldest Jewish museums in the world. Employees filed their petition on January 10.

They seek to join the the MoMA, New Museum, Bronx Museum, New-York Historical Society, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, and more recently, the MFA Boston, PMA Maine, MASS MoCA, Whitney Museum of American Art, Hispanic Society of America, Brooklyn Museum, and the Guggenheim Museum, in Local 2110 of the UAW. 

“Unionization has become a necessity for museum staff. As museum professionals, we’re expected to work long hours for low wages with little assurance of promotional opportunities. In forming this union, I have learned about the working conditions of colleagues from many departments and realized we share some similar concerns. By forming a union, we can join together for conditions that recognize our value as a staff,” said Rebecca Shaykin, an Associate Curator who has worked at the Jewish Museum for over eleven years. 

Their mission statement reads:

The Jewish Museum is a unique organization dedicated to open dialogue and free expression, historically located at the intersections of art and cultural heritage. We, the Jewish Museum Union, proudly uphold these values and are organizing to advocate for greater equity and transparency. Our goal is to create a workplace built upon communication, respect, and integrity, where staff are involved in setting the terms of employment and are allowed to sustainably grow their careers. In keeping with our love of the Jewish Museum’s exhibitions, collection, and rich history, the staff is eager to realize a fairer, more inclusive, and more diverse workplace. We believe that collective bargaining with leadership can achieve these goals and strengthen our institution. Together we can move toward a better future for the Museum, creating a vibrant community in which everyone has the resources, opportunities, and support they need to thrive and collectively work toward a more equitable world.


For updates on the Jewish Museum Union, follow them on Instagram.

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