When Marcia Tucker founded the New Museum in 1977, she envisioned an institution that did away with hierarchies—not only in the art exhibited, but in the structure of the museum itself. Her aim, as she wrote in 1990, was to work toward “a collaborative, self-critical, and ‘transparent’ organizational model.” As the New Museum Union, we are committed to Tucker’s vision, and to the Museum’s mission today. We have organized as the Organizing Committee of the New Museum Union (NewMuU of UAW Local 2110) because we take great pride in the Museum’s legacy and we are committed to its success, its health, and its future growth.
As a museum and as a community, we have always championed diversity, equity, and progress. This distinguishes us as an art institution historically and, we hope, today as well—both in New York and globally. Our mission centers intersectional feminist concerns and cross-cultural dialogue, and our exhibitions, programs, and initiatives aim to model inclusivity and access. We ask, above all, that these ideals be mirrored in the Museum’s hiring and staffing. We believe that fair compensation for all workers throughout the museum is essential to ensuring its diversity: salaries, wages, and benefits at the museum must be sustainable for everyone, regardless of the privileges afforded them by race, class, or gender.
We have come together from across all the Museum’s departments to collectively improve our conditions. Forming a union will enable us—as well as future New Museum employees—to effectively advocate for changes that will make the New Museum a more sustainable and equitable institution. We believe in the New Museum and its mission; we want it to succeed. But we also recognize a need for critical changes at this moment in the Museum’s growth. We have asked that the Board of Trustees and New Museum management respect our democratic right to organize without interference and bargain with us in good faith for a contract that will ensure the Museum’s future as a beacon of diversity, equity, and progress.