SEIU 1021

Cal Academy of Sciences Workers Vote to Unionize in Landslide Election
After many months of organizing, workers voted by 77% to form their union, Cal Academy  Workers United, with SEIU Local 1021



Contact: Jennie Smith-Camejo,, (510) 710-0201

SAN FRANCISCO – Roughly 350 employees of the California Academy of Sciences will now have a union, Cal Academy Workers United, following a high turnout National Labor Relations Board election that saw 77% of eligible workers voting, of whom 77% voted yes. Votes were counted Friday, July 21.

Cal Academy Workers United will be a vehicle for the wide range of workers at the Academy, including non-supervisory employees working in guest experience, research, education, marketing, development, and all other areas of the research institution and museum, to have a voice in how the Academy is run, how funds are allocated, and how employees are compensated. They will join workers of numerous San Francisco museums, including the De Young, Legion of Honor, Asian Art Museum, and Exploratorium, as members of SEIU Local 1021.

The union election was the culmination of many months of hard work. “Organizing a union with my colleagues was something that I always thought would be a good idea, but it seemed like an overwhelming task,” said organizing committee member Ian Hart, an exhibits preparator at the Academy. “What it took was talking together and building bridges between colleagues in different departments. Once we connected, we were able to make plans, to reach out and get organizing support from the labor movement, and to learn how to do what we needed to do as we went along. 

“I look forward to keeping the organizing work going: building a workplace where we have a say in what our wages and working conditions are like–and in so doing, practicing the creative and collaborative organizing skills that are necessary for building a more just and livable world,” added Hart.

“So much work has gone into arriving at this victory,” agreed organizing committee member Victoria Langlands, an electronics engineer. “Staff have been having meaningful conversations for months, laying the groundwork to win with a landslide 77% yes vote! It is a very satisfying moment that deserves celebration, but the road ahead is just as important as we move towards contract negotiations and I look forward to continuing on with my coworkers to ensure all staff’s needs are heard and addressed in a contract.

“This process for me personally, has pushed me out of my comfort zone in ways I never imagined. Who knew an introvert could have that many conversations!” Langlands added. “I’m also proud of all my fellow organizing committee members, and how we took every challenge delivered to us with grace and clarity. When we disagreed, we came to a compromise. When we weren’t sure how to address issues, we looked to each other for advice and guidance. I believe we will handle the next chapter of contract negotiations with that same formula and it will ensure all voices are heard and accounted for in our contract.”


SEIU Local 1021 represents nearly 60,000 employees in local governments, non-profit agencies, health care programs, and schools throughout Northern California, including seven private colleges and numerous community colleges. SEIU Local 1021 is a diverse, member-driven organization with members who work to make our cities, schools, colleges, counties, and special districts safe and healthy places to live and raise our families.