Frye Art Museum Security Workers Vote Unanimously to Form Union -ARTnews

Frye Art Museum Security Workers Vote Unanimously to Form Union -ARTnews

The Frye Art Museum.


Another union at a North American art museum has officially been formed.

On Tuesday, security workers at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle voted unanimously to unionize. The vote to form the union, which is called the Art Workers Union, was 6-0, according to a release put out by the AWU. The newly formed union is the first group of its kind at an art institution in Seattle.

In a statement, Caitlin Lee, a security guard at the Frye said, “This is a victory for security guards here at the Frye. We urge management to work with us and bargain in good faith so that we can make the museum a stronger institution where workers have a seat at the table and a voice on the job.”

A representative for the Frye did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Efforts to unionize at the Frye began earlier in June. Workers at the museum had alleged that the wages they were being paid were too low for their city and unequal to the rates for positions at similar art institutions. The Frye previously said it would not recognize the union.

The AWU is the second major union at an art institution to form this month. Last week, workers at the Brooklyn Academy of Music also unionized.

The formation of AWU is part of a growing trend of workplace organizing at art institutions across North America. In the past year, workers at the New Museum in Manhattan also launched a union, and groups of the sort have helped agitate for better conditions at the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1, both in New York, and at the Vancouver Art Gallery in Canada. Workers at New York’s Guggenheim Museum are also seeking to form a union. Meanwhile, an online document that discloses museum workers’ salaries has been circulated widely.

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