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First contract for Academy Museum workers contains much-needed pay hikes, other gains

First contract for Academy Museum workers contains much-needed pay hikes, other gains
By AFSCME Staff ·
First contract for Academy Museum workers contains much-needed pay hikes, other gains
Credit: AFSCME Council 36

LOS ANGELES – Workers at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures are getting much-needed pay hikes and other gains in the first contract they negotiated with management through their newly formed union.

Academy Museum Workers United (AMWU) (AFSCME Local 126) is affiliated with Council 36. AMWU took root last year after management voluntarily recognized the union.

AMWU members voted overwhelmingly to approve a three-year contract last month that includes significant gains for workers, including a minimum of 3% annual wage increases.

The contract, which was approved by a 98.6% vote on Sept. 22, also includes a new minimum starting rate of $20 per hour, additional step increases based on the number of years employed, and wage increases for the bargaining unit’s more than 170 members over the three-year term.

Front-line staff, who work in the museum’s visitor experience, retail, theater operations and facilities departments and make up the majority of the bargaining unit, will see the most significant raises ranging between 19.1% and 21.3% over the life of the contract.

“I'm thrilled we were able to win good wage increases, especially for our front-line teams. We also secured a number of protections for the health and safety of museum staff,” said Cheryl Jones, a visitor experience associate at the Academy Museum. “We all came together to make this happen, and I'm proud to have represented my co-workers in this historic win.”

Jacqueline Stewart, director and president of the Academy Museum, said, “On behalf of Academy Museum leadership, I’m pleased that negotiations were completed swiftly for the sake of our teams and that they were conducted with mutual respect on both sides. We take pride in maintaining a wage level that aligns with industry standards and a robust benefits package for our staff.”

In addition to economic gains, workers also celebrated the addition of paid parental leave, the expansion of current medical leave benefits, increased stipends for work clothing, and employer-provided commuting options.

According to AMWU’s mission statement, workers began organizing to secure a voice on the job and a role in the museum’s decision-making process. Through organizing, workers sought to create a more equitable, inclusive, transparent and ethical workplace by advocating for sustainable wages, job security and mobility, and improved benefits. Workers say the new contract is a huge step forward in making those goals a reality.

Through its Cultural Workers United campaign, AFSCME represents more cultural workers than any other union – 35,000 across the country. That includes 10,000 museum workers at 100 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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