Skip to main content

Academy Foundation workers in California win their AFSCME union

Academy Foundation workers in California win their AFSCME union
By AFSCME Staff ·

After more than three out of four workers at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Academy Foundation in California signed union cards in support of joining AFSCME Council 36, their employer this week voluntarily recognized their union.

This means that approximately 90 employees across the Foundation’s Academy Film Archive, Margaret Herrick Library, Science and Technology Council and educational programs and initiatives will have AFSCME representation through the Academy Foundation Workers Union (AFWU).

Their victory comes after an official count of union cards this week revealed 76% of employees at the Academy Foundation supported joining AFSCME.

In securing a union voice, the Academy Foundation workers join thousands of cultural workers across the country who have achieved the same goal in the last few years, many of them organizing through AFSCME Cultural Workers United.

“The voluntary recognition agreement that the AFWU has negotiated with the Academy demonstrates the willingness of all parties to collaborate on behalf of our shared values and goals,” said Sean Kilcoyne, who works as a senior film archivist in the Academy Film Archive. “We are encouraged that it only took a few weeks to get to this point and we look forward to working together to negotiate a contract that improves the lives and working conditions of all Academy Foundation employees.”

The workers decided to organize for better job security and autonomy, benefits, fair compensation and workplace safety, as their mission statement makes clear. They also cited a shared dedication to the Academy’s commitment to equity, sustainability and transparency, and asserted that a union would help ensure a successful future for the Academy.

Stella Ahn, a collections archivist in the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library, sees voluntary recognition of AFWU as a new chapter of collaboration between employees and leadership at the Academy.

“It is heartening to know that our employers voluntarily recognized our union, AFWU,” she said. “It shows their willingness to include our voices as workers and collaborate for a positive outcome. Negotiating a contract together will uplift our employees and thus strengthen the entire institution so that we can continue serving the film and educational communities that benefit from our work.”

“The Academy gladly recognizes the Academy Foundation Workers Union – alongside our IATSE and Academy Museum union employees – and its efforts to organize,” said Brendan Connell, Jr., the Academy’s chief operating officer and general counsel for the Academy Museum. “The important work of these staff members to preserve and make film history accessible for the public is critical to the Academy’s mission. We look forward to working together for our organization’s successful future.”

Employees of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures also formed a union and won voluntary recognition from management in July.

Related Posts