Art Institute Workers Vote To Unionize

By James R. Scott and Claude Petain, The Chicago Times

January 13, 2022

CHICAGO – In a historic move, employees of the Art Institute of Chicago have voted to become the first museum to unionize in Chicago.

According to the tallies on Tuesday, a majority of museum workers voted to from the Art Institute of Chicago Workers United which will be under the umbrella of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

The AICWU will boast 250 workers consisting of curators to the midnight janitor.  The union will include staff at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  Many of the workers in favor of the union are seeking better pay and a voice in decisions affecting the museum.  According to economists, visitors can expect an increase in admission fees to offset any increases in pay.

“As promised from the start, we fully respect our employees’ decision to join a union. The museum intends to enter into good faith bargaining with AFSCME to negotiate an initial collective bargaining agreement that best meets the needs of all parties involved while allowing us to continue to deliver on our mission.” Kati Murphy, executive director of public affairs at the Art Institute said in a statement.

Murphy declined to comment on the recent firing of all trained volunteers in October 2021and further declined comment as to if this was a typical display of respect employees could expect.

The Art Institute was founded in 1879