Strikes at the Philadelphia Museum of Art 


Kylie McGovern, Editor

Protests outside of Strikes at the Philadelphia Museum of Art via

On Thursday, Sept. 29, Philadelphia Museum of Art workers who are members of AFSCME DC47, Local 397 continued a strike to protest “unfair practices” because executives at the Philadelphia Museum of Art have not addressed the alleged unfair labor practices at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The union formed in 2020 and has been in contract negotiation with the Philadelphia Museum of Art since October 2020. During this strike and another on Friday, Sept. 16, union members did not report to work at the museum. The strikes began because of a vote that passed by 99% on Aug. 30 by union members authorizing the call of strike. 

Additionally, on Oct. 2 @PMA_Union posted on Twitter about a pay-what-you-wish day. The Tweet read “We’re outside picketing in heavy rain. You can donate to our strike fund here:” The tweet also included a flyer encouraging visitors to either visit the Barnes Foundation instead of the Philadelphia Museum of Art or pay one cent for their pay-what-you-wish visit so that they do not support a Museum that does not support its workers. 

Since the vote to strike, Philadelphia Museum of Art management has not tried to remedy unfair practices. DC 47 President Cathy Scott says “Museum management needs to stop union-busting and make serious offers that improve workers’ wages, healthcare, and parental leave. Our membership would not have authorized a strike if they were not united in these demands. We cannot accept a status quo that subjects workers to violations of federal law, wages well below the national average for art museums, and benefits that do not allow workers to support their families.”

As Scott explains, these unfair practices impact the Philadelphia Museum of Art workers’ lives like Adam Rizzo, a Museum Educator who explains “we take this very seriously. If museum management does not remedy the Unfair Labor Practice charge and come to the bargaining table ready to make real progress, we are prepared to take further action. We have made it very clear what PMA Board Chair Leslie Anne Miller and COO Bill Petersen can do to avoid the disruption of museum operations.” These unfair labor practices impact many departments at the Philadelphia Museum of Art including visitor services, retail, education, installations, curatorial, conservation, marketing and development. Additionally, many employees report not receiving raises in years in accordance with peer institutions such as the nearby Barnes Foundation or to keep up with inflation or higher costs of living. Amanda Bock, an assistant curator of photography, explains that she had not received a raise on her $56,000 salary in three years. Philadelphians, tourists and La Salle students alike all enjoy the Philadelphia Museum of Art and this situation can impact these visits. 

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