We the undersigned—as labor unions, artists, public servants, and concerned citizens—enthusiastically support the United Museum Workers of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. We are encouraged by the recent agreement to allow an election to proceed without delay and to ensure that every vote is counted, including those of furloughed workers.
The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh have been a proud part of our city since 1895 started by Pittsburgh-based industrialist Andrew Carnegie. He created his institutions for Pittsburgh workers, most of them employed by his steel mills.Carnegie believed by giving these institutions to Pittsburgh, the public (and his workers) would be enlightened and educated. However, enlightenment didn’t pay the bills in the 1900s for Pittsburgh workers until unions took hold in our city in late 1930s--much to Carnegie’s dismay. Union workers were then able to enjoy Carnegie’s museums because they had extra time in their day to visit them (with an 8-hour work day and time off for weekends because of union contracts!).
Museum employees deserve a say in the decisions that impact their employment and working conditions, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, staff furloughs, and a public record of managerial abuses at the museum. Likewise, Pittsburgh deserves a civic institution where working people are empowered to create an inclusive, equitable, inspiring place to engage with the arts. Museum employees have a legal right not only to a union election, but to a fair election, free from employer interference.
Pittsburgh is proud to have four Carnegie museums in our city and it imparts enlightenment and education to our community and surrounding areas.But it is the museum workers who bring the enlightenment to the public, with their knowledge and compassion about what they do specifically at their museum. Let's support the United Museum Workers!