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Frequently Asked Questions:

What does signing a card mean?

Signing a card makes you a part of the process! It’s a way of showing solidarity with the work we are all doing and it gives you a voice. When we make decisions, like when we vote on our contract, you get a vote.

The number of card-signing members reflects the strength of our Union and it allows us to file for a Union Election with the National Labor Relations Board. Management will not know who signs a card. In fact, nobody (including management or another branch of the federal government) can subpoena this information. 

It’s never too late to sign your card!

What’s the process from here? 

We just went public! Going public means we’ve announced our intent to unionize as workers at OMCA. We’re sharing our demands & testimonials with our community, and will be filing for an election with the National Labor Relations Board. We’ve also asked OMCA management to voluntarily recognize our demand for a union. If they don’t voluntarily recognize us, we’ll have an election.

 What is collective bargaining? How does forming a union help me?

Collective bargaining is when an organized body of employees (a union) negotiates wages and other working conditions with management.

Once we win our Union, management must legally bargain in good faith over conditions of our employment — including compensation, health insurance, and workplace policies that impact our daily lives. After we win, our pay and benefits cannot be modified without our consent.

We will no longer be forced to rely on management to keep promises that were never legally binding, such as taking our feedback into consideration before making big decisions.

Our next steps after winning will be:

  1. Filling out a bargaining survey

  2. Holding listening sessions

  3. Nominating & electing our bargaining team

Our bargaining team will reflect our union–we want voices from all walks of life, and from all departments.

This is the best way to make sure that all voices are heard and elevated, and that we are fighting for the things that we all want, as well as the specific needs of each department. 

Can I be retaliated against for signing the public letter or being more involved?

It is illegal for management to retaliate against you for being a Union Supporter! Being a Public Supporter is the absolute safest place to be on an organizing campaign. If management is discriminating against you, we now have physical evidence we can use in a court of law to hold management accountable. 

Museums are not Amazon Warehouses. Typically, management does not engage in intense anti-union activities. However, we are here to protect you just in case! 

Winning your union is the best way to prevent yourself and future generations of OMCA workers from being unfairly discriminated or retaliated against. Without the legal protections of our union, there is nothing to prevent senior administration from laying off staff, eliminating existing benefits, or firing people unilaterally.

Any changes to your working conditions that you find odd or questionable, please reach out to any member of the Organizing Committee or your Union Organizer, Shane Anderson, at 916-291-8749. 

Who is eligible to join the union?

The majority of workers at OMCA are eligible to join the union, with the exception of folks working in the following areas:

a. Confidential - folks who have access to confidential documents (such as executive assistants)

b. Managerial - folks on the Senior Directors Council and working in Human Resources

c. Supervisory - folks who have the ability to hire or fire employees; folks who spend most of their time supervising or delegating tasks

If you’re not sure if you’re eligible, just ask!

I’ve had negative experiences; how is this different?

Each union is unique. We’re building our union together in a collaborative, creative process and it will take the form that we shape it. 

Join us! What would you like to see in our Union?

Will organizing our Union undermine DEI work?

Our colleagues are doing amazing, impactful work through the Anti-Racist Learning Team and in other capacities. Organizing our union will strengthen this work, and empower those involved through holding management accountable. After we form our union, management is legally obligated to treat the collective voices of staff as an equal in the decision-making process. That means we can better support the ARLT in getting management to act on their recommendations.

How much are our union dues?

Dues are 1.5% of your base salary–nobody pays dues until after we vote yes on our raises, improved benefits and working conditions. If you make less, you pay less; if you work less, you pay less. 

What about strikes?

Who wants to go on strike? You? Me? Nobody wants to go on strike. Strikes only happen if WE, the workers of OMCA, vote collectively to go on strike. A strike will not happen unless a very large majority of our union votes to strike (typically over 90%). However, striking is our MOST powerful tool to make management see and respect the value of our work, and make them listen to our voices.

 What is Cultural Workers United/AFSCME? 

AFSCME is the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, which represents 1.6 million workers across the country, including academics, librarians, public servants, museum employees, editors, curators, and arts workers. Our union is affiliated with AFSCME Council 57. When you see Council 57, just think California. Check out their website here:

Cultural Workers United (part of AFSCME) connects and serves as a nexus for organized and soon-to-be organized cultural workers (like us!) to come together, share experiences, set more equitable standards, and fight for common legislative and political goals. Recently, workers at MOCA, PMA, and Art Institute of Chicago demanded and won their seat at the table! Check out their website here:

What does “the union” want?

The “Union” is us – the beautiful part of this process is that we’re learning what we all want to see change together. 

Check out the Public Letter here to see some of the key things that our colleagues would like to see change! 

Some of the things we’re hoping to fight for are fair compensation, health benefits for all workers, and an equal partnership in decision-making. What do you want to see change?