Skip to main content

A public letter to our colleagues,

Today we, Oakland Museum of California Workers United, announce our intention to join the wave of museums and cultural institutions across the nation in uplifting our collective voice and power to form our union with AFSCME Council 57, Cultural Workers United. We are deeply committed to our professions, our communities, and the museum’s values of equity, courage, collaboration, belonging, and inspiration.

We know that forming our union is critical to building a museum that truly integrates all of these values into every area of the institution and the work we do as a community.

The Oakland Museum of California is writing a new “Strategic Plan” to set the course for the museum’s work over the next few years. The first goal of this new Strategic Plan is to embed equity and anti-racism into all aspects of our work. We look forward to our union being an integral and necessary partner in achieving this goal. In order to “advance equity, transparency, and anti-racism in internal structures, culture, and practices,” as stated in the draft Strategic Plan, we believe that workplace equity is rooted in sharing power and decision-making with employees.

We see our union as growing organically out of the stated values of the museum. Our union is not some outside party, rather we are employees of OMCA who hold the museum’s values and mission very dearly. In the past few years, through the work of many past and present staff on the Anti-Racist Design Team, we have shown that when employees work together, we can make the institution more equitable. We look forward to this new evolution of the museum, where our union helps to foster internal trust, improves transparency, further advances equity, and holds us all accountable to our commitment to anti-racism.

A majority of members of our proposed bargaining unit have now signed cards indicating that we want to be represented by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. We hope that the museum sees the incredible benefit of this union to our collective work and grants us voluntary recognition. We would be happy to submit proof of our signed union authorization cards to a mutually agreed-upon and neutral third party for verification.

Our museum not only serves, but is part of the fabric of our Oakland and Bay Area communities. Our demands are for full-time hours and livable wages commensurate with the reality of living in the Bay Area; affordable health benefits, especially for the most vulnerable of us; and to have our voices heard. As educators, administrators, maintainers, creators, and workers, we believe that the way to ensure that we achieve OMCA’s mission is through the formation of our union. We are asking management to join with us in bringing our institution into alignment with our stated values of equity, community, and humanity. Let us stand united!

Get Email Updates