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In A First In Colorado, Denver Art Museum Workers Vote To Unionize

The workers at Denver Art Museum voted to unionize last week – making them the first unionized art workforce in Colorado.

The workers successfully voted to become a part of AFSCME Council 18, a national organization composed of workers at libraries, zoos, and museums. The voting took place on Thursday and passed with 67% votes in favor. This was a supermajority, as more than two-thirds of the voters supported the motion. Once formalized, the union will represent over 200 workers working in various departments at the Denver Art Museum.

However, the road to unionize was not a smooth one for the workers. After they first announced their intentions to unionize in January, they faced a severe anti-union campaign organized by the higher-ups at the Denver Art Museum. This prompted the AFSCME to file more than a dozen unfair labor practice charges with the government authorities.

After the vote, workers at the Denver Art Museum were elated. Trudy Lovato (gallery host) said: “One of the best things about this process has been hearing from people in various departments, and learning about their expertise, skills, and concerns. I look forward to working together to build a workplace that creates an environment of mutual respect, and every member feeling as valued as they deserve.” Kit Bernal (curatorial assistant) said: “I am so honored to get to work with all of my incredible colleagues across the bargaining unit and the museum to build a better present and future for the DAM.”

The newly formed union will aim to address issues like inadequate staffing, fair compensation, and fair disciplinary processes, among other things. It also plans to go contractual to give better bargaining power to the workers.