Workers at the Storm King Art Center in Windsor, New York, on November 15 announced that they plan to form a union. The push comes as the open-air sculpture park embarks on a $45 million capital project that will result in substantial enhancements to its facility and was driven by a recent surge in attendance, thanks in part to the Covid-19 crisis. The staff of the nonprofit are seeking to organize under the auspices of Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Like their compatriots at other institutions across the country who have unionized in recent years, they are seeking better wages, more comprehensive health care, and greater transparency on the part of management.
“We hope Storm King Art Center will adhere to its values and promptly agree to a neutral election,” a CSEA spokesperson told The Art Newspaper, which first reported the news. “Regardless of job title, the workers have in common their love of the museum and its mission, especially programs that make Storm King’s art accessible to people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to visit. Having a democratized workplace stands to benefit Storm King Art Center and only enhance its programming and customer service. We hope management will look to institutions such as the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art [Los Angeles] and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, whose leadership agreed to voluntary recognition when workers there organized.”
The nonprofit’s management has thus far refused to voluntarily recognize the union, which encompasses workers across multiple departments. Organizing staff has petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to set a date to allow them to proceed with union elections.
“We look forward to engaging with our colleagues, the Civil Services Employees Association Local 1000, and the National Labor Relations Board during this process,” said a Storm King spokesperson in a statement.