Workers at the Storm King Art Center in Windsor, New York, announced on November 15 their intention to form a union. The push comes as the outdoor sculpture park embarks on a $45 million capital project that will see substantial upgrades to its facilities and was prompted by a recent surge in attendance, thanks in part to the Covid-19 crisis. Staff at the nonprofit seek to organize under the auspices of the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Like their compatriots at other facilities across the country who have unionized in recent years, they are demanding better wages, more comprehensive health care and greater transparency from management.
“We hope that the Storm King Art Center will adhere to its values and quickly accept a neutral election,” a CSEA spokesperson said. The arts journal, who broke the news first. “Regardless of the job title, the workers have in common their love of the museum and its mission, especially the programs that make Storm King’s art accessible to people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to visit it. Having a democratized workplace benefits the Storm King Art Center and only enhances its programming and customer service. We hope that management will look to institutions such as the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art [Los Angeles] and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, whose management accepted voluntary recognition when workers organized there.
The association’s management has so far refused to voluntarily recognize the union, which brings together workers from several departments. Organizing staff have asked the National Labor Relations Board to set a date for them to hold union elections.
“We look forward to engaging with our colleagues, Civil Service Employees Association Local 1000 and the National Labor Relations Board during this process,” a Storm King spokesperson said in a statement. .