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Workers at another Chicago institution are forming a union with AFSCME

Photo credit: AFSCME Council 31
Workers at another Chicago institution are forming a union with AFSCME
By AFSCME Council 31 ·
Tags: Momentum

The historic wave of cultural workers organizing continues as employees of yet another Chicago museum are forming a union. Workers at the Museum of Science and Industry announced this month that they are organizing with AFSCME Council 31. 

The union, known as Museum of Science & Industry Workers United (MSIWU)/AFSCME, will represent about 140 employees in the museum’s guest experience, guest operations and education departments. 

In a letter, employees of the MSIWU/AFSCME organizing committee wrote, “In order to continue providing high-quality experiences and create more inclusivity within the MSI community, we have come together to solidify our voice by forming our union.” 

MSI employees say they are organizing to win pay equity, improved professional development opportunities, an end to discrimination, and better workplace health and safety protocols. 

“The Museum operates like a machine with many moving parts, and it cannot thrive if we are unable to stand in solidarity with one another,” the employees wrote. “We deserve a workplace culture that embodies the value of workers.”  

Opened in 1933, the Museum of Science and Industry welcomes more than 1 million visitors annually and is the Chicago area's top cultural destination for school field trips.  

“MSI employees make their museum great, and we’re pleased they’re joining our AFSCME Cultural Workers United family,” said Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch, who’s also an AFSCME vice president. “Together in their union, MSI workers will have a strong voice for fair treatment, better pay and a say in all the decisions that affect them.” 

The leading union for cultural workers nationwide, AFSCME represents more than 10,000 museum workers at more than 90 cultural institutions in the public and private sectors, and more than 25,000 library workers at 275 public and private libraries. 

Locally, employees of the Art Institute of Chicago, staff and non-tenure-track faculty of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (read the story here), and employees of the Field Museum, Notebaert Nature Museum and Newberry Library have all formed unions with AFSCME in the past 18 months. 

About 60 craftspeople and laborers at MSI are members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). 

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