Annual Gala Will Face Union Protest
The security officers at the Philadelphia Museum of Art will protest during the Young Friends Winter Gala this Saturday at 6:30 pm (starting at the West/back Entrance, opposite of the “Rocky Steps”) to draw attention to their effort to improve their wages, working conditions and museum safety.
The 150 security officers at the Philadelphia Museum of Art protect our city’s most precious cultural heritage but earn poverty wages.
Being a security officer is a physically demanding job. Standing on the hard marble floors for 8 hours each day sends these workers home with chronic joint problems. These problems that are compounded by the lack of access to quality, affordable healthcare.
To add insult to injury, despite the fact that these workers will insure the safety of some of our regions wealthiest socialites at the Young Friends Winter Gala this Saturday, March 12 at 6:30 pm, these workers earn wages below the Federal Poverty Limit. The Young Friends Winter Gala tickets cost $225 to $275 each, or approximately a security officer’s entire weeks wages.
After nearly two decades of working in poverty, these guards fought back. In October of 2009, the security officers formed the independent Philadelphia Security Officers Union, after all attempts to reform their employer, AlliedBarton, and their employers client, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, failed.
Unfortunately, even even this strategy has yet to yield the progress that the officers need to improve their work lives and museum safety.
Despite a written promise from Museum COO and President, Gail Harrity to Councilman Wilson Goode Jr. and the Philadelphia City Council, to increase their security budget to reflect unionization (view Mrs. Harrity’s promise here http://goo.gl/iZ8r8 ), AlliedBarton has never offered the union a wage increase anywhere near what the museum stated in their letter.
The Philadelphia Security Officers Union and AlliedBarton have been negotiating for 10 months. AlliedBarton’s last wage increase offering was $0.30.
“Activism has gotten us all the changes that we have won up until this point including up to three days of paid sick leave and has saved the jobs of 7 employees who were active in the union. Activism will make all the difference,” states Sulaiman Kamara, museum guard and union treasurer.
Join us, this Saturday, March 12th at 6:30 pm outside of the West Entrance of the the Museum (this is on the “back” side of the museum, near Fairmount Park) to loudly call attention to our effort. Our protest will coincide with the Young Friends Winter Gala, the major fundraising party of the year for the museum.