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Oakland Museum of California recognizes union workers formed through AFSCME

Photo: Oakland Museum of California Workers Union
Oakland Museum of California recognizes union workers formed through AFSCME
By Andrew Dudenbostel ·
Tags: Momentum

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) has voluntarily recognized the union its workers formed through AFSCME Council 57.

That means the Oakland Museum of California Workers United (OMCAWU) avoided the cumbersome process of holding a union election. Council 57 will be the bargaining representative for over 60 museum workers, including preparators, ticketing and retail associates, curators, designers, program developers, and more.

“It's exciting and assuring that we’ve come to an agreement with museum management and can move forward together,” said Azayza Jimenez, a communications specialist and member of the union’s organizing committee. “It’s meant so much to not only see how we’ve come together as co-workers to live out the stated values of the museum, but also to see how much of our community has supported us in this pursuit.”

Lori Fogarty, executive director and CEO of OMCA, said, “We deeply value all of our employees and are committed to ensuring equitable compensation and a positive workplace culture for all of our staff. We share in the goals of engaging together to advance the vision and mission of the museum. We look forward to working in partnership with the union moving forward in upholding OMCA’s strong commitment to our community."

Cliff Tillman, executive director of Council 57, welcomed OMCAWU members.

“Workers continue to stand up for themselves by being a part of a collective and making decisions for their wages, hours and working conditions,” Tillman said.

After months of organizing, OMCA workers announced their unionization drive last month. Next steps are for OMCAWU to form a bargaining team and enter contract negotiations with OMCA.

OMCAWU's success is the latest for the AFSCME Cultural Workers United (CWU) campaign. More than 35,000 workers at cultural institutions around the country — including more than 100 museums — have formed unions thanks to the hard work of CWU organizers. Other California institutions where workers have formed unions include the Academy Museum in Los Angeles, the Museum of Contemporary Art – Los Angeles, San Jose Zoo, El Pueblo Historical Monument in Los Angeles, Los Angeles Public Library, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, and Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena.

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