Striking Hispanic Society Workers Rally for Justice
Striking workers of the Hispanic Society Museum & Library, an Upper Manhattan institution dedicated to Portuguese and Spanish art, staged an action outside the Upper East Side residence of Board Chair Philippe de Montebello this week, with support from their UAW siblings from across the City. The unit of about 20 employees, members of UAW Local 2110, went on strike on March 27 and has not been paid since.
The Hispanic Society’s professional workforce (curators, conservators, librarians, and educators, among other employees) unionized in July 2021 after the museum eliminated their pension plan. The workers had long accepted lower wages in exchange for pensions and free healthcare, but when negotiations for the workers’ first union contract began in September 2021 they ground to a halt over that healthcare: The museum wanted to eliminate the employees’ free insurance. Now, management says they're willing to cover current employees' premiums but will require future employees to pay 10% to 25%.
“It amounts to union busting,” Hispanic Society librarian Javier Milligan said of the tiered insurance system. “That’s a way to weaken the union.” Read more in Hyperallergic, and click here to make a donation to the union's hardship fund so that workers can continue their fight for a fair first contract!