When is the MFA Union striking and for how long?

The MFA Union has voted to strike for one day on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.

Why is the MFA Union calling for a one-day strike?

  1. Almost 1 year ago to the day—after a year of work on organizing—the workers of the MFA voted in a landslide to unionize with local 2110 of the UAW. The unit consists of: educators, conservators, front line staff, curators, fundraisers, IT specialists, administrative staff, and retail among many other roles and is one of the largest museum workers unions in New England.
  2. MFA management has resisted moving forward on bargaining for a contract for the unit using various delaying tactics from litigious and costly disputes over the makeup of the unit, unreasonable offers of increases in 2024. 
  3. With low wages and no cost of living or merit increases since 2019, minimal job security,  the workers of the MFA need a fair contract in 2021.

Will a one-day strike help with progress on future negotiations?

The workers of the MFA are serious in their desire for equity and a reasonable contract and unfortunately after months of good faith efforts, a strike is a way to show the unity and resolve of the MFA Union. They have voted to sacrifice a day’s pay to show the value of their labor to the institution and the public.

In other 2110 workplaces, having a strong strike has not only led to a better contract but has also made strikes in the future less likely because management takes the union more seriously in future negotiations.

Why didn’t the MFA Union try a demonstration or open letter?

A demonstration is all about showing up physically and is powerful if there is a huge turnout. It will probably take as much work to organize for a demonstration as for a one day strike which is a much stronger statement. The Negotiating Committee thinks we need a stronger, more definitive action, like a one day strike. A one day strike is about both showing up physically to the picket line and withholding your labor for the day so it’s a much more powerful statement.

What does the MFA Union hope to accomplish?

A one day strike shows the Museum that we are still organized and we all still believe in our workplace rights, a living wage, equitable treatment, union rights, and everything we’re fighting for in our contract.

How can I show support for the MFA Union?

Join us on the picket line on November 17 outside the MFA!

Repost our social media posts: @mfaunion and use #mfaonstrike in your posts.

Ask museum leadership to respect our union by posting on the MFA’s social media pages @mfaboston or send an email to management: mteitelbaum@mfa.org 

Donate to the MFA Solidarity Fund on venmo @mfasolidarityfund

Who can join the picket line? 

Anyone in our unit or from the public can join us on the picket line. 

Is a one day strike legal? 

Yes. It’s a tried and true tactic of the labor movement and we have a right under the National Labor Relations Act to strike or take a job action.

Will we be paid in a one day strike? 

No. It will take a sacrifice from people but it’s an investment in getting a better contract and building a strong union. In other 2110 workplaces, having a strong strike has not only led to a better contract but has also made strikes in the future less likely because management takes the union more seriously in future negotiations.

Why not an open letter/petition to Matthew? 

We don’t think that’s a strong enough statement.  

How many people do we need to make this successful? 

We want a strong majority (two thirds+) to participate in the strike.

What if I’m a term employee or on an H1b visa? 

The Museum has no right under the law to retaliate against someone because of either of those facts.  Even if you were a true temp or casual, you have a right under the law to participate in a job action or strike.  In addition, if we all stand together as a group, the Museum cannot pick us off.  

What if I’m in a challenged position? 

Under the law, employees have the right to engage in “concerted” activity including a strike over their terms of employment even if they are not in a union.  As long as challenged people have a good faith basis for believing that they are part of the unit—they do—they have the same legal protection as unchallenged people in a strike.

What if I’m in a temporary position? 

Again, even true temps (such as agency employees) have the right to engage in “concerted” activity over terms of employment.  Same rights as everyone else under the National Labor Relations Act.

What if my “term” contract is up? 

It would be unlawful for the MFA to retaliate against someone for striking by not renewing their contract. And one of the main things we are fighting for in the contract is job security. Without it, the MFA will always be able to hold the “term” of your so-called contract (not!) over your head. The best way for us to avoid retaliation is for everyone to go out together and stay together.

What if I’m in another union or classified as a manager by the NLRB at the MFA?

IF you are a supportive manager or part of the other bargaining units (facilities or protective services) at the MFA however, you should only join on your break/lunch or not during your working hours.

Will this hurt the MFA? 

We hope that a one day strike will embarrass the Museum and show them that we are serious, but the temporary embarrassment of this action is far less damaging to the Museum in the long run than the kind of thinking behind the policy decisions they are making that have led both to their bad stance in negotiations.  

My supervisor is supportive. Won’t this action hurt them? 

A strike action is not directed against supervisors who do not have the power to offer us a fair contract. This is a collective action we are taking across departments that is directed at the decision-makers of the Museum. 

Working from home instead? 

Do not work from home on November 17, if you decide to work you will still be crossing our picket line. To stand in solidarity with our members you should refrain from work and put our suggested away response in your email.

How long do union negotiations take? 

PMA took 6 sessions to secure a contract. We aren’t waiting to negotiate.