Motion Picture Academy Museum Recognizes Workers Union

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The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will voluntarily recognize its employees’ new union, Academy Museum Workers United, after weeks of talks between the union and management.

The union recognition was announced in a joint statement by AMWU and the Academy Museum, which last week named Jacqueline Stewart as its new president and director. AMWU will unionize with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 36, which represents labor unions in museums and other nonprofit cultural institutions.

“The Academy Museum respectfully recognizes Academy Museum Workers United and the efforts of members of our staff in organizing. We deeply appreciate the history and importance of unions, acknowledging that much of the museum’s content represents an industry built upon unions and guilds,” Stewart said in a statement.

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“We look forward to discussions with AMWU’s to-be-formed bargaining team to reach an agreement that serves the represented employees and advances the museum’s core mission,” Stewart continued.

“We are thrilled to have come to an agreement with the Academy Museum over recognition of our union, and to have 69% union support from our coworkers,” AMWU representative and Academy Museum visitor experience associate Viviana Santillan said. “Now we can move forward in building a working relationship with museum leadership and focus on having a voice over our working conditions and the creative professions to make this institution the best in our community and the world.”

“We are thankful for the support from our union family at the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, SAG-AFTRA, California IATSE Council, and Writers Guild of America – West. When workers stick together, we empower each other to create the workplace we deserve,” Santillan continued.

After months of organizing that began even before the museum’s official opening last September, Academy Museum Workers United went public with its intention to unionize on May 26. The Academy Museum had stated its intent to move forward with an official unionization vote with the National Labor Relations Board even when AMWU submitted its formal request for voluntary recognition, but entered talks to do so just prior to Stewart’s official announcement as museum director as the union received support from other Hollywood labor organizations.

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