Sunday, February 14, 2010

Museos Unite!

Chic Art Workers Coalition protester, 1969

Recently I have ventured into twitter (@petitemaoiste) and find it another way to get very useful information from my museum worker/art worker/academentia-suffering/political people out there (and of course it's fun to watch the posts under the #RHOC hashtag on Thursday nights, and to see up-to-the-minute reactions to John Mayer's TMI racist/sexist ramblings in Playboy!). Today I learned about a group that gave me hope: Museos Unite. They're on twitter & have a blog (link below) where they deal with working conditions for art workers in the broader context of class issues. They have launched an anonymous salary survey which is something that I fantasized about, discussed with colleagues/students, and even raised publicly at a conference panel where representatives of CAA and AAM were speaking, but no one picked up the ball. The CAA/AAM folks were none too enthusiastic, and the rest of us are I think leery of rocking the boat given the dismal job market. Which is why the anonymity is key. Of course, museum workers world-wide, recently in France (see the Museo Unite blog for more info on that subject) and years ago at MoMA, have gone on strike, but in general the feeling is that anyone that complains is easily replaced.


Kirsten said...

Thanks for mentioning us! I'm not surprised to hear that the AAM was unenthusiastic. Compared to the MA (UK Museums Association, which has a set of publicly available salary guidelines) they've definitely dropped the ball when it comes to standard setting for salaries. And people ARE reluctant to rock the boat. No one wants to be blacklisted! I feel like blogging with my real name has probably messed up my chances of ever finding work in a museum again, but someone's got to say something, right?

Petite Maoiste said...

Many years ago, a colleague and I proposed a panel to AAM about the history of unionization in museums to mark the anniversary of the founding of PASTA at MoMA. They rejected it but someone should pitch this to AAM or CAA.