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Academy Foundation staff form union with AFSCME Council 36

By Cyndy Flores ·

LOS ANGELES - On Thursday, workers at the Academy Foundation, a part of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, announced they have formed a union, Academy Foundation Workers Union (AFWU), as part of AFSCME Council 36. AFWU is seeking recognition from the Academy leadership as the exclusive representative for about 100 union-eligible staff.

“The Academy Foundation's collections and programs are only made accessible by way of its dedicated and highly skilled staff. Our union will allow us to better support each other, and our colleagues throughout the field, to set new and greater standards for improved transparency, diversity and inclusion and equitable pay in the workplace,” said Adam Foster, film traffic specialist.

The Academy Foundation serves as the educational and preservation arm of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Employees work with the film-making community to archive, preserve and catalogue film history, as well as serve as a resource for film research and education.

Academy Foundation employees are joining cultural workers across the country as part of the Cultural Workers United (CWU) movement. Thousands of workers have unionized through CWU over the last few years, including members of Academy Museum Workers United, who won recognition of their union and will soon begin negotiating a contract, and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, who recently ratified their first contract.

In an industry that saw closures and mass layoffs at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, cultural workers have found power through forming a union, using their unified voice to set industry standards that improve job protections, safety, wages and benefits.

Unionized staff is nothing new in Hollywood. Academy Foundation Workers Union members are joining workers in television, film, theater and music who have been organized for decades.

“We are coming together to fight for better wages, improved working conditions, greater environmental sustainability and a more substantial commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, amongst other concerns,” said Sean P Kilcoyne, Senior Film Archivist. “In doing so, we also look beyond our individual circumstances to affirm workers everywhere – to raise standards for workers in the creative industries.”

AFWU members are ready to show proof of a strong majority of support and seek immediate recognition of their union from Academy leadership. After receiving recognition, AFWU members will begin negotiating a contract with their employer

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