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Academy Foundation workers in Los Angeles overwhelmingly approve contract

Photo credit: AFSCME Local 126
Academy Foundation workers in Los Angeles overwhelmingly approve contract
By Andrew Dudenbostel ·

LOS ANGELES – Members of Academy Foundation Workers Union (AFWU) have approved a three-year contract with their employer that secures significant gains for workers, including a minimum of 3% annual wage increases.

The contract reached with the Academy Foundation on May 22 includes wage increases between 11% and 27% over the next three years, as well as regular step increases. The workers, who are part of AFSCME Local 126 (Council 36), will also have access to an additional four weeks of paid parental leave and an extended medical leave option.

Job security benefits include protections against subcontracting and language to create more professional development opportunities.

Jessi Jones, a film archivist and member of AFWU’s bargaining team, said, “Our first contract signals to our bargaining unit and management that a new era at the Academy Foundation has arrived — an era of a more fair and equitable partnership with management and workers. As we move forward, the bargaining unit will benefit from wage increases, health care and benefits stability, and a system of checks and balances. I'm proud to be a member of AFWU and proud of our accomplishments."

Brendan Connell Jr., chief operating officer of the Academy and general counsel for the Academy Foundation, said, “On behalf of Academy leadership, I am delighted that the contract that we negotiated with the Academy Foundation union was approved by its members, many of whom are long-serving employees.”

Workers formed AFWU in 2022. According to AFWU’s mission statement, workers organized their union to ensure their voice on the job, and that the Foundation’s goal of preserving motion picture history for all communities is carried out with equity, sustainability and transparency.

This is the second unit at the Academy to organize with AFSCME Local 126, with Academy Museum Workers Union having ratified their own first contract last fall.

The Academy Museum in Los Angeles, which is open to the public, showcases the history of cinema. The Academy Foundation, which is closed to the public, archives old films, maintains libraries and offers fellowships. Both are part of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, best known for the annual Oscar awards ceremony.

Through its Cultural Workers United campaign, AFSCME represents 35,000 cultural workers — more than any other union — giving them a voice on the job and a seat at the table. That includes 10,000 workers at 100 museums and other cultural institutions in the public and private sectors, and more than 25,000 library workers at 275 public and private libraries.

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