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Tacoma Art Museum Workers Persistent in Calls for Union Recognition

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Monday, March 20, 2023   

Tacoma Art Museum workers are rallying Thursday outside the museum while the Board of Trustees meets, to call for recognition of their union from the Board of Trustees, again.

Workers went public with their union in October but could not include security workers in the union unless the museum voluntarily recognized them.

Carrie Morton, store manager at the museum, said the union is necessary because workers have not been involved in decision-making.

"We all deserve to have a safe place to work, we all deserve to have transparency in our workplace, and we all deserve to feel safe and protected and not have to worry about being punished for speaking out," Morton argued.

The Board of Trustees initially said it refused recognition because the museum is searching for a new executive director. Board members also say the union should be split in two because conditions for security workers are different from the rest of the museum.

Stephen Rue, lead preparator for the museum, said the security workers would be excluded from the union because of a section of the National Labor Relations Act passed in 1935. He pointed out the exclusion has its roots in a racist practice from the era.

"As a small museum with not that many workers, having one union to represent all is not only more efficient, but it's more equitable," Rue contended.

If the union is certified, it would be the first representing all workers in a museum in Washington state.


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