97% of San Francisco Museum Workers Vote Yes for Contract Ratification

San Francisco, CA — SEIU Local 1021 members at the de Young and Legion of Honor museums voted 97 percent to ratify a contract this week, after more than one year of tense negotiations that escalated over the summer with an outpour of support from the political, art and labor communities.

As one museum worker puts it, the once sleepy union chapter of more than  90 workers won a contract that will set the standard for upcoming contracts, in the effort to keep good, living-wage jobs in San Francisco.

Workers rallied around the fact that the museums accumulated $19.6 million in unrestricted net assets over the past two years, yet demanded lower wages for future hires and an increase to worker health care costs.

“Once it was clear there was no financial need or basis for management’s aggressive tactics, we began a series of highly publicized actions to show the public what was happening,” said Mark Garrett, a museum tech at the Legion of Honor.

The efforts included actions at the two museums that resulted in 19 arrests, but also included letter writing and alerting the museum’s board, as well as the community about management’s bad behavior.

In August, museum workers overwhelmingly authorized a strike by 90 percent, followed by approval of the San Francisco Labor Council. Soon after, the Mayor’s office demanded management’s negotiators come back to the table. Negotiations resumed and within less than a month a compromise was made.

To keep up with the rising costs of living, museum employees will receive a 10 to 18 percent pay raise over the three years of the contract. The workers will get an immediate 3 percent pay increase and another 3 percent raise on Jan. 1, 2013.

Union members will also pay part of their health care on a sliding scale that starts at $25 a month for employees, $50 for one dependent and $75 for families, according to museum officials. The rates will rise over the life of the contract.

Check out Local 1021 Museum Workers in action:

September 7, 2012 –Museum Take Over:

August 31, 2012– Labor Day Action:

August 3, 2012– Strike Authorization Press Coverage:

May 2012– Flash Mob at Friday Night at the Museum:

March 23, 2012:

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